Conveyancing FAQs: Helpful Answers You Need The Most.

Paul Hajek | 23 Oct 2015


conveyancing frequently asked questionsWe are asked an awful lot of Conveyancing questions during our day.

Some of those questions occur with a fair bit of regularity, some less so.

Our maxim: Clients Ask – We Answer.

What we have done for you is compiled an easy reference guide of our most frequently asked questions to make life a little easier for you.

The list is possibly a bit exhausting, but it is not exhaustive.

If you haven’t seen one of your burning questions answered, do reach out and we’ll help you with the answer.

Fire away!

Q: What will you need from me to kick everything off?

A: You’ve no doubt been asked for information to prevent money laundering. I’m afraid we’re no different. We will ask for some information about you and your property. You are required to provide a form of ID.

Q: How long will the whole process take?

A: This all depends on your situation; if you are selling and not buying, you are in the best position because you are at the top of the transaction chain.

However, if you are buying and selling at the same time, then you may find it can take a little longer as there are about 2-3 people in the chain. It could take up to 8-12 weeks to complete.

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends wholly on the situation. Nonetheless, we have tried our best to advise you in our blog: How Long Does It Actually Take To Move House?

Q: Will I need to make an appointment to come to the office?

A:  Good news: if it floats your boat we can deal with everything through post, e-mail or by telephone.

Money laundering legislation will require us to produce some identification from you and make further online checks.

If you are local or enjoy epic migrations across the country feel free to pop in and see us.

Q: What does a Local Authority Search cover and how much does it cost?

A: A Local Authority Search plays a crucial part of the conveyancing process and can potentially reveal a lot about the surrounding areas of a property. The search will cover:

  • If roads and footpaths adjoining the property are publicly maintained.
  • If there are plans for any major and/or minor road schemes close to or abutting or affecting the property.
  • Provide a list of planning decisions affecting the property.
  • State whether the property is on contaminated land.
  • State if the property is situated in a conservation area.
  • Provide a list of building regulations affecting the property.
  • Reveal any enforcement notices for violation of planning permissions against the property.

Depending on where you live, a Local Authority Search will vary in cost. In our area for example, (Bristol, South Gloucestershire) it costs around £100.

If you require any more information on Local Searches, then don’t hesitate to read our blog: What Will A Local Search Unlock In Your Dream Home?

Q: When will I have to pay you some money?

A: We need to put in hand various searches on the property you’re buying so we’ll ask for a payment of £350 on account to cover the initial search fees and insurance. This money will be held in our client account separately from the Firm’s own money, subject to our right to transfer and use the same in payment of our legal fees and expenses.

If it makes it easier for you to pay by debit or credit card, that’s not a problem.

Q: Will I have to pay a deposit and if so, how do I pay it and when will it be needed?

A:  Yes, if you are just buying a property.

Many mistakenly assume that their mortgage advance will pay for the deposit; the advance is only available after completion. Therefore, you can either pay for the deposit with the money you receive from the house you are selling, or you can use the deposit guarantee scheme or a short-term bridging finance. These options will cost; your Conveyancer can discuss this with you if necessary.

We will tell you when we need your payment–it should be a Bank Transfer only.

We do NOT accept personal cheques because of delays this can cause, and you will be very unpopular with other buyers and sellers if you are in a chain.

If you are buying and selling, we do not usually require any additional money.

Q: Who will let my new Building Society/ Bank know when the new mortgage funds will be required?

A. If you are taking out mortgage finance to fund your purchase, we will advise your Lender of the date. We ask for the monies where possible to arrive the day before completion to avoid any delays on your moving day.

Q: How soon can I receive any money due to me?

A: We will post any balance in your favour to your new address within seven days. We can also ‘Telegraph’ monies directly to your Bank Account for a small additional fee of £42 inc VAT.

Q: Oh my days, I don’t understand all this Conveyancing jargon! What can I do?

A: Sometimes Conveyancing Solicitors can talk in jargon- we try not to. However, we have a handy little slideshare with all the keywords you will ever need to know…

What’s the Name of That Legal Thingy 

And if you still aren’t sure you know everything, we’ve made a part 2!

What’s the Name of That Legal Thingy Part 2 

Q: What does ‘exchange’ and ‘completion’ mean?

A: The exchange is when the Buyer and Seller sign the contract, and your solicitors exchange them. When this is done, you are in a legally binding contract; so you can relax. There will be no more fears of Gazundering or Gazumping. At this point, if you do not complete the transaction, you will lose your deposit and owe the seller more if you paid less than 10% of the property price. On the other hand, if the seller refuses to sell, you have the right to sue them.

On completion, you move out of your old property and receive the keys for the new one. This generally happens around midday when your solicitor has received all funds.

Q: How long does exchange and completion take?

A:  It can normally take a week or sometimes only a few days. We don’t recommend that you exchange and complete on the same day as this can add much unneeded stress.

Of course, the time it takes can vary depending on the size of the chain. Try not to set a timescale until all the boring things are out the way. The surveys need to be carried out and revised and your Conveyancer needs to look over the Title to the property; so don’t be too impatient! The more you rush, the more likely things will go wrong.

There’s normally a lot to do in between the stages of exchange and completion. Check out our Slideshare for some advice: How To Get All Your Ducks In A Row Between Exchange and Completion. 

Q: What time do I have to leave my property and what do I do with the keys?

A: The contract normally states that you must vacate by 2pm, but the convention is to try to be out by 1pm.

Please leave your keys with your Estate Agents, who will release them to your buyer when we have called them to say the money has been received.

Q: When can I get the keys for my new property?

A:  Usually after lunch on the day of completion. There can sometimes be a delay where a chain is involved. We must wait for money to be received before sending your money.

  •  If the money hasn’t been transferred before 3pm, completion day will be delayed by one working day.
  •  If someone breaks the chain, then this can delay things. Ensure that everyone has paid Stamp Duty and VAT to avoid this.
  •  Talk to your Conveyancer in the morning to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

Q: Where Can I find out more about buying and selling my home?

A: Find out more about the buying and selling process by signing up to our free Property Bootcamp PDF. Learn how to achieve a stress-free home move in 7 simple steps. From choosing the right estate agent, to tips on how to get your home ready for selling, we’ve got you covered! Download for FREE now!

This has been updated from a previous post written in 2012.

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