Conveyancing process

Buying or selling a property can seem a complicated and lengthy process.  To help you understand it we set out the three main stages of the transaction.

Pre-Exchange

Investigation of the property you are buying is essential, so you know exactly what it is you are buying and to make sure the seller can legally sell.  This investigation is carried out by your solicitor and is called the "pre-contract investigation" it includes:

  • an investigation of the legal title (to ensure the seller can legally sell).
  • the seller provides information by filling in a property information form and fittings and contents schedules. The information includes:
    • what items are included in the sale price
    • whether there are any neighbour disputes or not
    • whether there are there any plans for development nearby
  • enquiries of the local authority and various utility companies
  • survey and finance (you arrange these through your financial adviser). We will provide a topline report on any mortgage offer.


When this investigation has been completed, you are in a much better position to decide whether you still want to purchase.  If you do, you must sign the contract and pay the deposit. You are then obliged to buy or to sell (as the case may be).

Exchange

On exchange the obligation to buy and sell arises.  This obligation must be performed on the completion date.  The contract drafted by your solicitor is signed by you and the other party, the deposit is paid and the completion date is fixed.  The deposit is traditionally 10% of the purchase price, though a 5% deposit is often accepted.

Completion

The completion date is the date the parties move house.

  • The time for completion is usually between 12.30 pm and 2 pm (depending on the banks)
  • Consequence of failure to complete.
    • If you fail to complete on time, the seller is entitled to charge interest until actual completion or may be entitled to terminate the contract.
    • If the seller does terminate the contract, he or she often keep the deposit.  If you have only paid 5% you will be obliged to pay the additional 5%.
    • The seller can also claim compensation for other losses e.g. re-selling at a lower price

On completion the solicitor pays the stamp duty and then deals with the change of ownership procedures. 
 
If you would like further clarification or further assistance, call our experienced property solicitors for free and without obligation.

Please telephone and speak to one of our conveyancing lawyers for free on 0800 037 1625 or fill in the online form to request a call back and someone will ring you within 24 hours.

You can access any of our conveyancing lawyers at any of our offices spread throughout Surrey, Hampshire and Greater London including Kingston upon Thames, Bordon, Cheam, Canary Wharf, Leatherhead, Raynes Park, Surbiton, Tolworth or Walton on Thames.