What is Conveyancing?

So you want to know what is conveyancing .

Conveyancing is something that legal people do, usually a solicitor although a licensed conveyancer or legal executive can also perform the process. The word comes from the action ‘to convey’ or to pass from one person to another. In this context we are talking of conveying title or ownership from one person to another. We say person but it could be an entity like a company or trust also.

So the act of conveyancing is to pass title from the present registered owners, be they a person, entity or trust, to another party. 99% of the time, this occurs when a property is sold.

There are a lot of tricky things involved in the conveyancing process and a lot of precautionary checks have to be made by the buyer. Number one check being, is the seller on the Land Registry records as being recorded as the legal owner of the present title to the property being transferred.

Secondly we would want to check that the seller has the unimpeded ability to dispense with the property and that there are no charges or obligations against the property.

Thirdly we’d want to check the stability of the property within its boundaries to make sure that there are no items that could spoil the buyers future enjoyment of living in that property. Things like local government and highways checks should be carried out to ensure any future developments would not include a new road being cut through your garden or mining and water searches would tell if the property is built on mine workings or if it  is liable to flooding.

Fourthly, your solicitor would await a copy of the contract of sale coming through from the sellers solicitor. It is the duty of your solicitor to receive the contract and read it through to ensure it does not contain anything non-standard or untoward. This is a skilled job and is not really something you could do yourself without prior experience and the inherent risks involved in getting something wrong are great.

Your solicitor also has to check that you have the funds to proceed so they will ask to see your mortgage offer or have sight of your bank statements to verify that funds will be in place at the intended date of completion.

Your solicitor acting as the buyers solicitor will also send out an enquiry form to the seller. This is a document of disclosure where standard questions are asked of the buyer to state any known things that may arise in the future or that are present and past that could affect the buyers enjoyment of the property after purchase. For example, a friend of mine bought a flat and on the day he took possession and moved in he discovered the water boiler was broken so on day one he had to face the expense of buying a new boiler costing 2 grand. Charming!

Apart from all the checks aforementioned the conveyancing process involves a degree of admin in the filing of legal documentation post completion such as the transfer details with HM Land Registry and the settling of any tax liabilities for Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty Land Taxation.

Take our advice, don’t do it yourself. Find a good solicitor or licensed conveyancer to do the job for you.