It is a recognised fact that moving house can be more stressful than divorce!
We would like to take as much stress out of this process for you as we can and with that in mind we have produced this leaflet as a guide to various stages of the transaction. Please take a few minutes to read through this guide and keep it handy for reference.
Title Information: If you are selling, we cannot do anything to start the conveyancing process until we have documents to prove your ownership of the property.
Registered title: If the property has changed hand within the last 30 years it will be registered at the Land Registry with a unique title number. We will obtain a copy of the Register which comprises details of the property, registered owners and mortgages.
Unregistered title: If the property has not changed hands within the last 30 years it may not have been registered and if so, it will be subject to first registration by the new owners.
Mortgaged property: Mortgage Lenders until recent years, held and stored title deeds. They have now ceased to do this and now rely on the computerised Land Registry records. If you have a mortgage and are selling, depending on when your mortgage was taken out, it may be necessary to obtain deeds from your lender. This takes about 5 working days and most mortgage lenders charge for producing the deeds.
If you don’t have a mortgage and have any title deeds at home, then please let us have them as soon as possible. Similarly, if you have any old deeds (which might be obsolete now) please let us have them as they may possibly contain information not apparent from registered title information held by the Land Registry.
It is also most important for you to tell us if there have been any changes which would affect the title to your property such as a change of name by marriage or the death of a co-owner. Evidence of such changes has to be produced as part of the title information.
The Conveyancing Package: This package of documents is provided by the Sellers Conveyancer to the Buyers Conveyancer and comprises of:-
(1) Draft Agreement for Sale (referred to commonly as “the contract”). This is probably the most important document in the Conveyancing process. This document will eventually legally commit you to the transaction. You will receive detailed written advice prior to being asked to sign or commit yourself.
(2) Office copy entries or an epitome of title. This is evidence of the Sellers title to the property.
(3) Sellers Property Information Form (SPIF). If you are selling then we will ask you to complete this form and send us the originals of any guarantees or other documents you might have which are relevant to the information requested in the SPIF.
(4) Fixtures Fittings and Contents Form. If you are selling then we will ask you to complete this form which precisely indicates the items which are included in the sale price, those which are specifically excluded and any which may be purchased.
If you are selling then we have to prepare the Conveyancing Package and send it to your buyers’ Conveyancer. If you are buying then we need to receive the Conveyancing Package and have time to read and check the documents before we can advise you.
Occupier of Property: Any occupier of property over the age of 18 years of age is deemed in law to have a right of occupation. An occupier may not be the owner or one of the joint owners of the property or contribute financially.
If you are selling, then we need to know if there are any adult occupiers who are not joint owners living at your property as we will have to add a further clause to the contract and any adult occupiers will have to sign the contract along with you.
If you are buying with a mortgage then it is most important that you tell us if anyone other than you will be living at the property with you.
Homebuyers Survey/Valuations: If you are buying with a mortgage: your lender will send its own surveyor to make an inspection of the property to satisfy itself that the property is sufficient for their security. Although the lenders surveyor will point out any items which will need further investigation, the surveyor is not working for you; he is working for your mortgage lender. We would therefore recommend that you do not rely solely on the mortgage valuer’s report but commission a Homebuyers survey for yourself.Remember this is likely to be the largest single investment you make in your lifetime, not to mention the fact that it is to be your home – take great care.
Mortgage Instructions/Offer: If you have told us that you have applied for a mortgage then your Lender will instruct us to act for them and we should receive their instructions about the same time as you receive your formal written mortgage offer. Please take care to read the offer conditions carefully and deal with any conditions which require action on your part. In particular, requests to sign and return a copy of the offer or provide direct debit mandates as these are thing which commonly cause delays.
Searches: We do not normally make application for local authority or any other searches which may be advisable until you are in possession of a written mortgage offer unless you specifically instruct us to do so. This is in your best financial interests. It is a costly waste if search fees are expended and you take the decision not to proceed with your purchase because say you have received an adverse survey on the property.
Report on Sale / Purchase: Once we have received and inspected the Conveyancing Package, carried out local authority and any other preliminary searches and received instructions from your mortgage lender, we will provide you with a full detailed report to consider and invite you to attend our office to resolve any queries which arise from our report and sign relevant documents.
Exchange of Contracts: This is probably the most important point of the Conveyancing transaction. When contracts have been exchanged then both Seller and Buyer are legally bound to complete the transaction. Financial penalties come into effect at the point of exchange of contracts to guard against failure to complete. Detailed written advice will have been given in our Report to you prior to exchange of contracts.