Legal advice

The Legalities of Buying A Home in the County of Surrey

What exactly is involved in the conveyancing process?

This week we sat down with Chris Smith from S & L Solicitors to talk about the legalities involved in the home buying process. Chris has been practicing law for 24 years and is regarded as one of the best Lawyers in the Surrey area for conveyancing matters.

Chris offered a step by step guide to familiarise you with how the conveyancing process works from the seller’s point of view.

The Offer

1) Provide your conveyancing solicitors with instructions.

2) In return, you should receive a client care letter that will need to be signed and sent back. You’ll also need to provide details of your current mortgage and proof of your identity.

3) Next, you’ll receive a number of forms from your conveyancing firm, including:

* Fixtures, fittings, and contents form
* Leasehold property form (if applicable)
* Property information form

Complete this paperwork – with your solicitor’s assistance, if necessary – and return the forms along with any planning permissions, building consents, or building work guarantees you’ve already secured.

The Land Registry4) Your solicitors will now retrieve your title deeds and copies for the Land Registry Office. If you’re working with a leasehold property, they’ll also obtain the following information from your management company:

* Estimated costs for the next year
* Details of the building’s insurance
* A copy of the current lease
* Service charge records for the 3 previous years.

5) At this point, your conveyancing solicitor has all the information they need to draft an initial contract. This is still open to negotiation.

6) Once the contract documents are compiled, your conveyancing company will send it to the solicitors representing the buyer.

7) At this time your conveyancing solicitor will answer any questions regarding the information in the contract and conduct negotiations as appropriate. Your solicitors will likely contact you to assist them in this process.

8) The buyer and seller will agree on a completion date through their legal representative. This will then be incorporated into the contract.

9) You will be prepared to make your exchange after the buyer has had all of his or her queries satisfactorily answered and all negotiations are completed.

10) Copies of the revised and negotiated contract will be sent to both you and the buyer. After signing your copy, you return it to your solicitors. The buyer does the same.

11) The exchange comes into force when the solicitors “exchange” the contracts. Your solicitor will also take the buyer’s deposit at this time. It will be held for you until after completion. At this point, the contract is considered legally binding. Backing out of the contract will forfeit the buyer’s deposit unless they can prove they were brought into the contract under false pretences.

The Completion Process

1) First, your conveyancing solicitor will contact your bank and establish how much money is required to pay your existing mortgage.

2) The buyer’s solicitor will provide a transfer deed (TR1) to your solicitors. This will be sent to you for signing; you need to return it to your solicitors immediately.

3) The outstanding balance of the price will be sent from the buyer’s solicitor to your on the day of completion. At this point, they will:

* Send the title and transfer deeds to the buyer’s solicitor
* Pay off your mortgage
* Pay their own fees, if you have instructed them to
* Send the balance of the payment to you

Once all of these steps have been completed, your solicitors will let you know that you’re ready to turn over the keys to the property to its new owner.