Conveyancing Solicitors for Property Purchases

Buying a property marks new beginnings. With an experienced conveyancer on your side, you can be confident that your purchase will be smooth and as stress free as possible.

Your property purchase will involve the transfer of ownership to you from the existing owner in return for the price agreed. This legal process is known as conveyancing.

How does buying a property work?

When you've found a property and agreed a price, the selling agents will send the sales details to your conveyancing solicitor (or licensed conveyancer). The legal and practical work can then begin.

The process involves these essential steps:

  1. Your solicitor will send you a 'client care' letter setting out the terms and conditions on which they will act for you. It will include itemising the costs agreed between you, the complaints procedure, and other important house-keeping information.
  2. You must provide proof of identify before your solicitor can begin the conveyancing.
  3. You must provide all relevant information about the property to your solicitor, eg. how you are funding the purchase, whether you're buying jointly with someone, what you plan to use it for and whether you have had a survey carried out yet.
  4. You will arrange the survey (if not yet done) and your solicitor will check the survey report and any mortgage offer and conditions when received.
  5. Your solicitor will receive the draft contract and supporting documentation from the seller's solicitor; check the contract terms, the legal 'title' to the property and related documents; and ask questions about the property and the ownership.
  6. Your solicitor will arrange for the local authority search and other relevant searches to be carried out. (You will be asked for the fees upfront). Your solicitor will go through the search results to check whether anything impacts the property.
  7. Your solicitor will send you a detailed report on the property explaining the extent of the property, the search and survey results, any mortgage conditions, and so on. You will also be sent the property information form and a 'fixtures, fittings and contents' form. You will then have enough information to make an informed decision on whether you still wish to go ahead.
  8. A completion date can then be agreed and your solicitor will ask you for a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) before exchange of contracts.
  9. Your solicitor will exchange contracts with the other side and send the deposit to the seller's solicitor. At this point, you are legally bound by the contract to complete your purchase on the completion date agreed.
  10. Your solicitor carries out further legal checks and, if you're having a mortgage, orders the mortgage advance. They will also draft the transfer deed which the seller's solicitor will check.
  11. If you are liable to pay stamp duty land tax, your solicitor will prepare the form for you to sign - along with the transfer deed if necessary.
  12. Your solicitor will send you an account of fees and costs with the final amount required from you in cleared funds in time for the completion date.
  13. On the agreed completion date, your solicitor sends the balance of the purchase price to the seller's solicitor and the seller's solicitor can then 'release' the keys. As the new owner, you are now entitled to enter the property.
  14. Your solicitor pays the stamp duty to HM Revenue & Customs on your behalf. Once your solicitor has received the transfer deed and any other required documents (such as proof that the seller's mortgage has been paid), they can apply to have your legal ownership of the property registered at HM Land Registry.

If you have any questions about the property purchase process, your conveyancing solicitor will be able to explain things to you in more detail.