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A First-Time Buyer’s Guide to Conveyancing

While you think that it all starts and stops at making an offer and arranging the payments, think again. Home buying is not just about that. Everything has to go under a legal process and it takes a number of tasks to be completed before you can actually call it your own.

Conveyancing, easily put, is the legal process of transferring the ownership of the property from its current owner to you, the buyer. To help you even further as a first-time buyer, here are several more things that you might want to know.

What is conveyancing?

It is an administrative process that associated with making sure that the seller is legally eligible to sell, and you are okay to proceed with the purchase and eventually owning the property. It starts when your seller has accepted your offer and wraps up when the contracts are signed and exchanged and the money has been transferred to pay for the property.

Who works on this?

Typically, any lawyer can work on the conveyancing process on your behalf. But a licensed conveyancer is more trained and has specialised to oversee that everything goes fine. Technically,  you can instruct any solicitor to act on your behalf but it is advised that you choose someone accredited by the Conveyancing Quality Scheme and a member of the Law Society, so that you can be sure that the tasks are carried out according to regulations and standards of quality.

More so, you can also choose to instruct an online conveyancing firm, some of which may charge as little as £200. To even help you save more money, you can compare conveyancing quotes online.

More importantly though, you might want to make sure that you conveyancer is on the approved panel of your mortgage lender as they will likely carry out tasks by the lender and they would need someone in their trusted list. Otherwise, you may have to hire someone specifically for that task alone - which could cost you more.

What would your conveyancer do?

One of the first things your conveyancing solicitor does is verify that the property is legally eligible to be sold. Then they will have to search documents with the local authorities and other organisations to make sure that there are no development plans, environmental concerns, or water and drainage issues that could affect the property and your living condition.

Conveyancers will also let you know of the incurred costs in the transaction like Stamp Duty, Land Registry Fees; and draft and verify the terms of the sale-purchase contract before they are signed and exchanged,

Towards the end, they will make sure that all the funds are in place to pay for the property - including advising your mortgage lender and liaising with them to release the mortgage monies to the seller’s account.

Once completed, they should then provide further assistance in terms of registering the property in your name at the Land Registry.

How much does it cost?

It all depends on who you instruct and how much you’re buying the property for. In basic fees alone, conveyancers may charge from £200 to £1000, whilst the incurred costs vary from one area to another. Stamp Duty, on the other hand, will cost a certain percentage of how much you bought the house for.

Your conveyancer’s basic fees should include charges like calls and correspondence,copying documents and their expertise. The rest, such as property searches, survey arrangement and assistance, should have a proper breakdown in the fee structure.

To properly set your budget, always ask for quotes from different firms or independent conveyancers that you can compare and choose from.

Can you do it on your own?

Generally, yes but it’s not strongly advised as it may be too complicated and time-consuming for you. If you happen to have overlooked a vital task, you may be in for some trouble. Besides, some of the people and organisations you will deal with in the process, especially your mortgage lender, would require a legal expert to work on some tasks which you may not be equipped to do.