A beginner’s guide to conveyancing

Buying and selling property remains a complex and sometimes daunting adventure. As with all legal processes, you can be swamped by waves of jargon and procedure. This is the reality of conveyancing.

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As property ownership involves significant expense and responsibilities, it requires an exhaustive legal process to protect all parties. This doesn’t mean it should be frightening and mysterious; in fact, a professional company such as Sam Conveyancing will make it a priority to demystify the process as far as possible.

Why you need a conveyancer

Conveyancing is literally the process of conveying legal ownership from one person to another. Do-it-yourself conveyancing is possible but not common, largely because the process becomes harder without the binding authority of legal undertakings and other tools that are the exclusive prerogative of the legal profession.

It is a good idea to gather a few conveyancing quotes before you choose a conveyancer to act for you. You need to feel confident in your choice, as the conveyancer has an important role in seeing that every legal requirement is fulfilled so that you can take ownership in full knowledge of what you are taking on and unencumbered by any hidden restrictions or obligations.

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Searches are the enquiries that are made to identify things such as any planning, environmental, drainage and water issues affecting the property. There are also specialist location-specific enquiries in areas with a history of flooding, mining or subsidence; in some cases, properties can bear liability for local church repairs. The current high-speed rail projects have introduced a new search into the mix.

Land Registry searches are also important, as these will provide a full description of the property, its tenure and current ownership in addition to any restrictions on its use or obligations passed from owner to owner. It is not uncommon to find that the garden of a property may appear to fall within its boundaries but belong to someone else.

Exchange and completion

Theconveyancer then prepares the contract of sale and purchase, which is generally based on industry standard terms but will always include what are called special conditions relevant to the particular property. At the same time, the conveyancer liaises with the mortgage lender and the other parties to the transaction until everyone is happy with the arrangements and the contracts are exchanged. This is the point at which the commitment to buy and sell becomes legally binding, with ownership finally passing some days or weeks later at completion.

If you keep the basic shape of the process in your mind, you don’t need to be daunted. As long as you maintain good communication with your conveyancer, the process can be a relatively painless one.