Step 1 – instruct a conveyancer
Once you have found your property, made an offer and had this offer accepted you need to instruct a conveyancer. A conveyancer is another word for a solicitor and they will process the legal aspects of your purchase.
All conveyancers are different and no two provide the same level of service or have the same expertise and high standards so it’s vital to choose the conveyancer who is right for you. For help on who to choose, please read our blog “How to choose your conveyancing solicitor”.
Step 2 – buyer’s conveyancer confirms instruction and carries out security checks
Your conveyancer will confirm the instruction by setting out their terms of business and any costs by letter or email. Your conveyancer will also ask for proof of ID at this stage.
It’s important to be aware that no work can be carried out until ID checks are complete. To help speed up the process and avoid delays it’s vital that, as a buyer, you provide your ID as soon as possible.
Step 3 – you provide money on account
At this stage, your conveyancer will ask you to provide money on account to cover any third party costs (also known as disbursements) such as searches on the property you’re buying.
Step 4 – buyer’s conveyancer arranges surveys on the property and makes a mortgage application (if applicable)
During this stage, searches will be carried out by a third party to provide you with key information about the property you are buying. These searches include local authority searches, land registry searches, and environmental and water searches as well as many others.
Typically searches can take anywhere between 1 – 4 weeks to come back and some local authorities are quicker to response than others.
Whilst waiting for the searches to come back, you conveyancer will continue with steps 5 to 7.
Step 5 – seller’s conveyancer prepares the contract and sends it to the buyer’s conveyancer
The buyer’s conveyancer will at this point contact the seller’s conveyancer to request the contract pack to be sent over.
Step 6 – buyer’s conveyancer raises any pre-contact questions and obtains a copy of the mortgage offer
At this stage, the buyer’s conveyancer will review the contract pack and raise any pre-contract enquiries with the seller’s conveyancer. As well as this, your conveyancer will also obtain a copy of your mortgage offer (if applicable) at this point.
Step 7 – seller’s conveyancer answers any pre-contract questions
The seller’s conveyancer will review the buyer’s conveyancer’s questions and liaise with the seller in order to provide an answer and send the responses to the buyer’s conveyancer.
Step 8 – buyer’s conveyancer reviews the contract pack, pre-contract question responses, the results of the searches and the mortgage offer
At this stage, the buyer’s conveyancer will produce a report for the buyer containing the above information. The buyer is then given the chance to review this information and raise any questions on anything that in unclear to them.
If the buyer has further questions these can be raised with the seller through the conveyancer.
Once the buyer and their conveyancer are happy and satisfied that all their questions have been answered. The process will continue to the next stage.
We often find that this is one area where clients feel like things have come to a holt but in fact, this is where the conveyancers will be dealing with numerous matters and delays could be because of various things. For more information on what causes delays in the conveyancing process please view our “delays in the conveyancing process” page.
Step 9 – prepare for exchange of contracts and you the send deposit money
At this stage you will need to make arrangements for the deposit to be paid to your conveyancer. Until this money has been received contracts cannot be exchanged and the process cannot carry on to the next stage.
Step 10 – both sides agree a completion date and the contract is formally “exchanged”
Through formally “exchanging” contracts both parties are legally committed to the transaction and tied into the move.
Step 11 – buyer’s conveyancer prepares a transfer deed and completion form
At this stage, the buyer’s conveyancer will draft a transfer deed and send this to the seller’s conveyancer.
Step 12 – seller’s conveyancer approves the transfer deed and a final copy is made
Once both sides are happy with the document the buyer will need to sign the transfer deed and then, the seller will be sent a copy to also sign before completion.
Step 13 – buyer’s solicitor prepares a completion statement and requests a mortgage advance (if applicable)
At this stage the buyer’s solicitor will carry out final pre-completion searches in order to prepare a completion statement and also request a mortgage advance from the buyer’s mortgage provider.
Step 14 – exchange money and complete sale
On the agreed completion date the buyer’s conveyancer will send the proceeds of sale to the seller’s conveyancer in order to complete the sale. Once this has happened, the seller’s conveyancer will inform estate agents (if used) to release the keys and will send the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer’s conveyancer together with an undertaking to repay any existing mortgage on the property.
At this point, you will be able to make arrangements for the sellers to vacate the property and hand over the keys by a given time. This is usually done through estate agents however, if you haven’t used estate agents this can be done through your conveyancer or by contacting the seller directly.
Step 15 – buyer’s conveyancer pays tax and registers the buyer at the Land Registry
During this stage the buyer’s conveyancer will send any stamp duty land tax which is payable to HMRC. They will also register the property in your name, as the buyer, at the Land Registry.
Step 16 – you receive copies of any documents
The final stage in the process is for the buyer’s conveyancer to send you, as the buyer, copies of the official documents such as, the registered title from the Land Registry, the title deed and any mortgage documents which the mortgage lender requires you to keep.
For further advice on the conveyancing process involved when buying a property or for a quote, please contact our residential property team on 0161 475 7676 or get in touch via our contact form.
Are you buying a flat?
If buying a flat, the process involves a lot of extra work and is likely to increase the timescale. Please contact us for full details on how the process differs and the extra steps involved.
If you’d like more information, please visit our residential conveyancing solicitors page.