Solicitor Services

Conveyancing

In simple terms, conveyancing is the legal process by which property is transferred from one owner to another. Whilst this concept in itself sounds simple, and it can be, unfortunately conveyancing has something of a reputation of being lengthy, complicated and overwhelming.

At Victoria Law Solicitors we try and reduce some of the mystery of conveyancing and our ultimate aim is to give our customers a fast, seamless completion with the minimum of stress during one of the biggest transactions faced in life.

To move your matter forward as quickly as possible you need to instruct a conveyancer early. If you’re selling a property it’s a good idea to get a conveyancer or solicitor instructed whilst your house is still on the market. This means you can start completing all the paperwork which will be required once you find a buyer. This can drastically reduce the time to exchange contracts. If you’re buying, while you won’t be able to instruct a conveyancer until you have had an offer accepted on a property, you can definitely obtain a quote based on your likely purchase price. Organisation is key.

If you have decided on your conveyancer at the time of making an offer, this can help to show a seller you are serious and are ready to move quickly.

Identity Checks

All conveyancers have certain Know Your Client obligations, which basically require the conveyancer to establish that their client’s identity can be verified, through either online or paper checks (usually of passports and driving licences). If you are selling a property you don’t live at, you’ll often be asked to provide some form of identification linking you to the sale address.

Source of Funds

If you’re buying a property, you will almost certainly be asked to provide evidence of how you are funding the purchase, unless it is immediately obvious (e.g. you are getting a mortgage and the rest is coming from the equity from a property you are selling). All conveyancers and solicitors are under strict obligations to comply with Anti-Money Laundering legislation and have to be able to evidence that property purchases are being funded honestly. It can seem something of an invasion of privacy as frequently bank statements will need to be supplied, but it is a normal part of the process.

At the same time, a buyer will usually be asked to pay upfront for the property searches required on the property. The most common searches are a local, water and drainage and environmental search.

Preparing the Contract Papers

Whilst the buyer is busy providing source of funds information and getting their searches ordered, the seller and seller’s conveyancer have to start pulling together the “contract pack”.

This, collectively, is the documentation which proves the seller has a right to sell, amongst other things.

The Contract Papers will consist of:

Official Copy Entries and Plan – these are obtained from the Land Registry and evidence that the seller does indeed own the property in question, they indicate the boundaries of the property, any other third party interests in the property (e.g. mortgages, people who have a right of way over the land) and any restrictions or covenants which affect the property. The concept of “title deeds” is now quite outdated but if the property is not registered at the Land Registry, title deeds will still be required to sell the property.

Property Information Form – a form completed by the seller regarding boundaries, neighbour disputes and alterations to the property, amongst many other things.

Fixtures, Fittings and Contents Form – a form completed by the seller which indicates what items will be left at the property, and what will be removed, on completion.

In leasehold property, a copy of the Lease will also be supplied, along with a Leasehold Information Form which is completed by the seller.

Pre-contract Enquiries

The enquiries stage of a conveyancing transaction is generally the most time-consuming part of any transaction. This is also where conveyancing gets a bit more technical, so if you work with a conveyancer or solicitor who isn’t keeping you updated, you could be forgiven for thinking nothing is happening.

This is the stage where the buyer’s conveyancers check the contract pack and look for any anomalies. If the buyer’s solicitor finds anomalies, they then raise questions or “enquiries” to have the position clarified.

Some common enquiries would include:

Asking for building regulation approval or planning permission for the original property or a future alteration, for example an extension.

Asking for evidence of a right of way to get to the property or its garage.

Establishing whether there has been a “breach of covenant” – for example, where there is a requirement to obtain the original developer’s consent to alter the property (this is common on newer properties) but no consent has been supplied for a conservatory at the property.

In leasehold properties, asking the managing agents whether any major works are to be carried out at an apartment which might make service charges increase.

When trying to answer enquiries, it’s common that the seller’s conveyancer will have to approach the seller, the local authority, the landlord/managing agent or other third parties to try and satisfy the buyer’s enquiries.

This can result in some “back and forth” which can lead to delays if any party is not forthcoming with information.

Mortgage Offer & Mortgage Deed

When a buyer needs the assistance of a mortgage to buy a property, a Mortgage Offer will need to be issued.

The mortgage company will issue their offer once they are happy with the valuation of the property and once the buyer has been through their affordability and credit check processes.

The mortgage offer confirms the details and basis on which the loan will be made, for example, the term of the loan and the interest rates.

From the conveyancer’s perspective, it also will often include “special conditions” which need to be satisfied, for example confirming whether any part of the deposit money is a gift from a relative or confirming that an offsite parking space or garage is included in the property being purchased.

The conveyancer will ask the buyer to sign the mortgage deed which confirms the buyer will comply with the terms of the mortgage.

Contract & Transfer Deed

The two important documents which need to be signed in every transaction (although there are others) are the Contract and Transfer Deed.

The Contract is usually signed in “two parts” – this means that the seller and buyer sign their own copy, rather than signing the same document. The Contract contains key information such as the seller and buyer names, the property address, the agreed price and the terms and conditions on which the property is to be sold.

The Transfer deed is the document which is lodged at the Land Registry after completion to change the property ownership from the seller’s name to the buyer’s. The seller and buyer will usually sign the same copy of the Transfer (also known as the TR1).

Traditionally, the Transfer was signed in between exchange and completion, but as the time between exchange and completion has reduced over the years, most conveyancers will now arrange for the Transfer to be signed before exchange.

The seller will usually sign the Contract as soon as the buyer has approved it. The buyer usually is asked to sign their Contract once all enquiries are satisfied. The buyer’s conveyancer will usually produce a report on the property and ask the buyer to sign the Contract if they are happy with the contents of the report.

Exchanging & the Deposit

Once all the legal work is complete and the buyer has their mortgage offer and searches, exchange of contracts can take place. Exchange of contracts is the point at which the sale and purchase become legally binding.

The completion or moving date is agreed at this point as a term of the contract.

The seller’s and buyer’s solicitors will take authority from their respective clients to exchange and then they go through the terms of the contract with each other on the telephone and agree exchange has taken place.

The original signed contracts are then “exchanged” through the post.

On exchange a 10% deposit is required from the buyer. There are serious repercussions for failing to complete after exchange, and losing that 10% deposit is one of them. This is why it is so important to work with reputable conveyancers and to ensure all finance is in place and all legal matters dealt with before exchange.

Completion Statements

A completion statement is a financial statement which shows a buyer or seller the financial transactions that will happen at completion, as well as any money which is due or will be owed. For a seller, for example, it will show the price being paid and then deductions for any mortgage which needs to be paid off and for estate agents/ conveyancing fees. The balance remaining is the amount then due to the seller.

Completion

Completion is the day on which all the money changes hands – or in more exciting terms, it’s moving day! The buyer’s conveyancer will arrange to transfer the purchase money to the seller’s conveyancer and at the point that money is received, the purchase has completed and the buyer can collect the keys to their new home.

How much does it cost to move house with Victoria Law?

Please note that Victoria Law Solicitors is currently not registered for VAT.

Sale

Professional Charges £850.00 

Electronic ID check £30.00

There are various disbursements to pay. These include obtaining a copy of your title deeds & plan from the Land Registry at a cost of £3.00 each. If your title deeds refer to other documents then the Land Registry charge anything from £3.00 to £20.00 for a copy of the document.

If your property is leasehold then we will need to obtain a Sales Information Pack from the Management Company. Management Companies charges vary and could be as little as £50.00 but could cost up to £500.00.

There will be a telegraphic transfer fee to pay if a mortgage needs to be redeemed or the net proceeds of sale need to be transferred to your bank at a cost of £23.00.

Purchase

Professional Charges £850.00 

Electronic ID check £30.00

There are various disbursements to pay in respect of your purchase.

We will ask you to forward the sum of £350.00 at the start of the transaction to cover the cost of searches and the remainder will be used towards your legal fees. Searches normally amount to around £280.00 but this depends on which area you are purchasing in.

There will be a Land Registry Fee which depends on the amount you are purchasing for.

Stamp Duty needs to be paid and this will be calculated on the purchase price and whether you are a first time buyer or own other properties.

If you are buying a leasehold property then the Management Company will charge a Notice of Transfer Fee & Deed of Covenant Fee to register your details with them. Each Management Company charges differently for these documents.

There will be a telegraphic transfer fee to pay if there are excess funds held upon completion that need to be transferred to your bank at a cost of £23.00.

Re-Mortgages

If you already own your property and need to re-mortgage then our fees are as follows:-

Professional Charges £450.00

Electronic ID check £30.00

There are various disbursements to pay in respect of your re-mortgage.

These include obtaining a copy of your title deeds & plan from the Land Registry at a cost of £3.00 each.

There will be a telegraphic transfer fee to redeem your current mortgage and/or transfer any excess funds held upon completion to your bank at a cost of £23.00.

There will be a Land Registry Fee which depends on the amount of your mortgage.

Transfers of Equity

If you wish to transfer a property that you already own due to a separation or divorce then our charges are as follows:-

Professional Charges £400.00 if there is no mortgage involved

Professional Charges £550.00 if there is a current mortgage remaining but one party is being released or you are re-mortgaging as part of the transaction

Electronic ID check £30.00

There are various disbursements to pay in respect of your transfer of equity.

These include obtaining a copy of your title deeds & plan from the Land Registry at a cost of £3.00 each.

There will be a telegraphic transfer fee to redeem any current mortgage and/or transfer any excess funds held upon completion to your bank or the bank of a partner/spouse at a cost of £23.00.

There will be a Land Registry Fee which depends on the amount of your mortgage.

Declarations of Trust

If you would like to protect any deposit you have invested in your property, should you separate from your co-owner, then we can draft a Declaration of Trust to protect each share. Our charges are as follows:-

Professional Charges £250.00 

Electronic ID check £30.00

There will be one disbursement to pay in respect of this transaction and that is a £3.00 charge to obtain a copy of your title deeds from the Land Registry.

For a full personal quote please call the office on 01283 543227

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