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Residential conveyancing is a term you have probably heard if you’re in the process of buying or selling a property.

The term residential conveyancing refers to the legal process behind transferring the ownership of a property. It refers to the many different aspects of the process from property searches to contract exchanges.

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What are the different steps in residential conveyancing?

The different sections of residential conveyancing can be put into six main categories:

1 Pre-contract

At this point, after getting an agreement in principle for a mortgage, solicitors from both the buying and selling sides will start to make contact and get the ball rolling out on the purchase. This stage typically includes title searches, general property information checks and verification of the sale terms.

2 Contract draft

Once the price and sales terms have been agreed, the solicitor on the seller’s side will draft a contract of sale. This includes the set price, detailed property boundaries and any special conditions laid out in previous correspondence.

3 Contract exchange

When the contact is agreed on, both the buyer and the seller will sign and exchange copies. This is the part which makes the sale legally binding. Here is where the buyer pays the deposit.

4 Pre-completion

Once the contracts have been exchanged, there’s still a few more bits to sort. These include signalling to your mortgage provider that they should release the funds. Other key aspects of this stage include final searches of the property.

5 Completion

The penultimate stage occurs when the seller has received the rest of the funds from the mortgage provider. A move in date is set and then keys are handed over to the buyer.

6 Post-completion

The final stage of the residential conveyancing process includes the transfer of land registry ownership, finalising any final fees and properly insuring the property.

Although there are ‘only’ six key categories to consider when buying a house, the process of residential conveyancing can take weeks, or, sometimes, months. There are a range of factors which influence the speed of a property conveyancing timeline.

These factors include any issues with surveys, issues from your seller’s buyer, or issues with your mortgage provider.

How much does the residential conveyancing process cost?

The legal costs associated with buying a house can vary depending on the solicitor, the house cost and desired search types. On average, the costs associated with the legal and conveyancing side of buying a house can range from £750 to over £1,100.

Having the maximum amount of money saved for the conveyancing and search processes is a good way of avoiding unwanted monetary surprises. And if there’s any money left over, you can put it towards a sofa when you move in!

What do residential searches check?

Solicitors carry out a variety of searches on the property you buy, not the one you sell. These are local searches, property searches, and environmental searches.

Local authority searches refer to the details of planning applications, developments, road schemes and other factors relevant to the surrounding area of the property.

Conveyancing searches under the property specific category are more relevant investigations to the property itself such as water and drainage information.

Environmental searches are likely to be demanded by the mortgage provider, it’ll refer to the records of the property and the surrounding area.

Some searches are necessities, and some are advised. Solicitors will offer insights on the best practices, based on details about the property.

Tips for residential conveyancing and buying a house

Buying a house is both one of the most exciting and most stressful life events you can do. It’s important to research the steps before you go into the process, but solicitors are there to help remove the burden.

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