Frequently Asked Questions
What is Conveyancing?
Transferring the ownership of a property or plot of land from one person to another is called conveyancing.
What is a Licensed Conveyancer?
A Licensed Conveyancer is a specialist property lawyer who is trained and qualified in all aspects of the law relating to property.
What is the difference between a Solicitor and a Licensed Conveyancer?
Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and normally practice in all areas of law, including conveyancing.
Licensed Conveyancers are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and specialise only in conveyancing.
The processes and consumer protection standards are the same for either type of firm and
the professional rules that either follow are very similar.
Why do you need to carry out Money Laundering Checks?
By law we are required to make a report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) where we know or suspect in the course of providing legal services, that either the proceeds of crime or funds in support of terrorism are being laundered or if criminal property is being transacted. In complying with the Money Laundering Regulations, we may ask you to provide to us documentary evidence of the source of your deposit, for example copy bank statement or building society passbook. These checks are carried out on every client. We may carry out an electronic Anti Money Laundering check which will in no way affect your credit rating.
My lender says your firm is not on its conveyancing panel. What does this mean?
When buying a property with the aid of a mortgage, your conveyancer usually acts on behalf of the lender at the same time. We have to provide them with a report on the property before they will allow us to draw down the mortgage money. Usually the same conveyancer acts for both the buyer and the lender, although this is not essential.
If we are not on a lenders panel, we can still act for you, however the Lender would require separate representation by a firm that is on its panel. This may result in additional charges for you. Please contact us for more information.
What are property searches?
Searches are carried out at the outset of a transaction and are various enquiries made about a property that is being purchased. Examples include a Local Authority Search, Drainage and Water Enquiry and Coal Mining Report. Each provides certain information about a property.
How long will it take before I can move?
An average conveyancing transaction takes anywhere between 6-8 weeks to complete although this depends on a number of factors, including the number of parties in the chain.
Do I need to come to your office?
Normally we prefer to see our clients in person when it comes to signing the contract papers. However, it is possible for us to forward documents by post, requiring your signature, to you if you cannot attend our office.
When should I pay my deposit?
When all of our searches and enquiries are concluded we will contact you to pay your deposit. Once it is cleared in our client account we will be able to exchange contracts.
What does exchange of contracts mean?
Exchange of contracts is the stage of the transaction at which a binding contract is made between all parties. On exchange, the agreed completion date is inserted into the contract, making it formal. Up until the point of exchange, any completion date which has been discussed is not definite.
You do not need to be present at our office for the exchange as it is carried out over the telephone between conveyancers and is followed by the physical exchange of signed contracts in the post.
When should I book my removal van?
Not before contracts have been exchanged, at which point there becomes a legally binding contract on all parties in the chain to complete on the agreed day. If you arrange removals before there is a binding contract, you do so entirely at your own risk.
What happens on the completion day?
On the completion day, the purchase monies are transferred from one conveyancer to another by CHAPS Transfer. This is a same-day payment system. We cannot give an exact time on the day of completion as we are reliant on the banking system.
If you are buying a property, completion takes place once the seller’s conveyancer receives the completion money from us.
If you are selling a property, completion takes place once we receive the purchase funds in our client account from your buyer’s conveyancer.
When and how will I be able to pick up my keys?
Keys will not be released to you until the seller's conveyancers have received the completion money.
If an Estate Agent is involved then they will normally have the keys, and will hand them to you once the seller's conveyancers have confirmed to them that the purchase money has arrived. If there is no Estate Agent involved, you should speak to the seller to arrange to collect the keys directly from them on completion.
What happens to my deeds?
If you are selling a property, any deeds or documents that we hold for you will be sent to the buyer’s conveyancer on completion. If you buy a property, we will arrange to register you as the new owner after completion.
We will send to you the Land Registry’s confirmation that you are the owner. This is effectively your proof of ownership. If we receive any other documents or old deeds from the seller’s conveyancer we will usually send these to you at the same time.
Most mortgage lenders nowadays do not hold any deeds on behalf of borrowers. You should safely retain any documents that we send to you as they may be needed if you later decide to sell or re-mortgage the property.