What Is Conveyancing And How Does It Work?
When buying or selling your home or an investment property, one may hear a legal term called conveyancing and wonder what it is and how does it work. The term is used in both the legal and real estate world. It is a process that anyone taking part in a property transaction should be fully aware of.
The process of transferring ownership of a legal title of land or property from one person or entity to another to is called conveyancing. It is essential to consider all your options prudently prior to commencing the conveyancing process. Your considerations shall include establishing whether you would profit most from engaging a conveyancer or a solicitor.
It is strongly suggested to utilise either a qualified conveyancer or solicitor for conveyancing as they have the industry-specific knowledge and experience required to traverse the particular council laws, regulations and practices in your given location.
The conveyancing process can be done without assistance if so desired, but the task can be difficult. If you are not sure that you can understand legal terminology and work with legal documents without error or you don’t have time on your side, then do-it-yourself conveyancing may not be a practical option.
There are usually two central proceedings involved in a conveyancing transaction. They include:
1. Exchanging the Contract of Sale
2. Settling the Contract of Sale
The Offer to Purchase – Contract of Sale
Any deal starts with an offer to purchase. This is commonly known as the Contract of Sale. This is a contract containing terms that the parties agree to make the sale. The agreement may include requirements such as inspections, repairs, payment of mortgages, or requests to leave individual appliances or fixtures behind.
Prior to signing the Contract of Sale, it is strongly recommended that you get legal advice. Your solicitor will make sure that your rights are safeguarded under the Contract of Sale and this also gives you the opportunity to advise your solicitor if you have any apprehensions about the sale.
After this contract is signed, you go about meeting the requirements of the contract. The seller usually has to do things like getting surveys, deal with mortgages, get building and pest inspections and so on. Sometimes, these fall on the buyer though. Title searches have to be done too. This is a way to see if the owner can legally sell the property. The last 20 years are checked to see if there is a solid line of owners. If it checks out, the owner has good title.
Title searches also reveal if there are any easements, mortgages, liens, or tax issues on the property. An easement is where another party has a legal right to enter or pass through the land. A lien is where another person has some claim over the land due to an outstanding debt. These need to be brought to the buyer’s attention and resolved accordingly. Mortgages and taxes must be dealt with as well.
The final tasks can only begin after the requirements are met. A new deed is drawn up, along with any other legal documents such as a new mortgage and signed. Once the purchase is made, the new owner needs to be registered at the local Land Registry office to officially gain the title. Then, the new owner can move in.
There are several standard searches that your solicitor will undertake during the conveyancing process. They may include:
- Title Search;
- Registered Plan of the Land;
- Full Council Rates Search;
- Land Tax Certificate;
- Transport Search;
- Contaminated Lands Search;
- Body Corporate Information Certificate (unit or townhouse);
- Company Search (where the seller or the buyer is a company);
- Bankruptcy Search;
- Court Register Search;
- City Council Heritage Search;
- Flood Search; and
- Title Search on the day of settlement.
The Benefits of Fixed Fee Conveyancing
When you’re moving home, there can be a lot of expense involved. That’s why it’s always wise to get fixed fee quotes for things like conveyancing and removals so you can budget in advance.
Many people, particularly first time buyers can be a bit bewildered by the whole conveyancing process, and if you haven’t bought or sold a property before, you are probably unaware of the likely conveyancing costs involved.
Not all companies provide fixed fee quotes for their conveyancing service, so it’s important to choose a company that does to ensure:
No financial surprises
It is beneficial to know exactly how much the conveyancing for your move is going to cost in advance so you can budget for your move.
When you get a fixed fee conveyancing quote, it should show a breakdown of all the costs involved so you can see what your money is being spent on and all the work that will be required.
If the conveyancing quotes you receive simply shows a single total figure with no explanation, then you’re unlikely to know exactly what it is you will be charged for, especially if you haven’t been through the process before.
Peace of mind
When you’re paying out your hard-earned money for a service, clarity is important, and that’s what you will get with fixed fee conveyancing quotes from Discount Conveyancing Brokers.
By getting a fixed fee quote for the conveyancing service, you can avoid the nightmare scenario of receiving a large unexpected bill at the end and have peace of mind knowing that the price you have been quoted is the price you’ll pay, with no nasty surprises.
Without fixed fee conveyancing quotes it will be difficult to compare the cost of one conveyance to another on a ‘like-for-like’ basis. Fixed fee conveyancing quotes from two or more companies will provide you with useful information so you can make an informed choice.
Although the price is a major factor, you should also consider the quality of service you’ll be receiving, so it is important also to consider the company you are looking to choose to ensure they will provide a professional service.
Conveyancing Solicitors – How To Find A Good Cheap One
In real terms, engaging a conveyancing solicitor has never been cheaper than it is today. The main reason is that they are facing real competition from the internet, which has increased transparency and brought prices crashing down as a result. In the old day’s solicitors only had to compete against the other law firms in their town. Today, the legal work for a conveyancing transaction can be done from anywhere in the country.
Instead of paying $1500 for a transaction five years ago, you can get the same work done today for $500. So, should you be looking in your local high street or online?
Online solicitors have the advantage of not requiring you to visit their office, with everything being done over the phone or by email. On the other hand, it’s easier to chase your local solicitor if time is pressing, because you can always call their office!
Like anyone, solicitors respond fastest to the client that’s going to make the most noise, so being able to call in on them in person rather than rely on email can be a real advantage.
Our advice would be to use the internet to shop around for a range of quotes. These are provided for free and will usually be less than what you would be quoted on the high street. Choosing the online option will save yourself a significant amount of money because conveyancing really can now be done from anywhere.
Very often online conveyancing websites come with a no fee guarantee if the sale or purchase fails to complete. Note that this only applies to professional fees and not to the cost of any searches that have been done. Though high street solicitors don’t usually offer this, it’s a good idea to ask, especially in the current climate.
As a final piece of advice, insist on getting a fixed fee quote and make sure that expenses are included as these add up to quite a lot. Costs are mostly known in advance, so there’s no reason why your solicitor shouldn’t be able to provide them (note: they may refer to them as “disbursements” – they mean the same thing).
The bulk of fees is payable on completion, though some monies must be paid on the account. This means that you pay a proportion of the overall fees upfront to cover some of the search costs, etc. Again, you can negotiate the size of the upfront fee. They need your business more than you need them!