The process of purchasing any real estate property differs from one country to another. In the UK, the process begins with the buyer identifying a property for sale that fits his or her budget and meets requirements as well. Thereafter, the procedure becomes more complex because laws of contract and stipulations by governing bodies come into play. It is not every day that people buy property. Therefore, it is unlikely that they would know everything about conveyancing. The best thing to do under such circumstances is to avail of the services of experienced solicitors.
Note that solicitors should hold the required licenses and also be allowed to practice in a specific region. Therefore, services of licensed solicitors in Kent would be needed if the property to be purchased is located in Kent or any region near it.
A “terms of engagement” contract is entered into between the solicitors and the buyer. This contract is simple. The solicitors are given the responsibility of ensuring that the conveyancing is done according to legal requirements and that their client’s interests are safeguarded.
Thereafter, most of the conveyancing procedure is completed by the solicitors. The procedure begins with obtaining a draft contract copy. There are many aspects of a contract that people do not understand. For example people may not understand the difference between leasehold property and freehold property. It becomes the duty of the solicitor to study the documents from which their clients would eventually derive the title, including details such as those of fixtures and fittings.
The additional duties of solicitors forming part of a conveyancing procedure are:
- Confirming from land registry records the seller’s ownership. For this the solicitors verify “title plan” and “title register”. Without obtaining copies of this, the transfer of property cannot be completed.
- Confirming from local authorities whether the property can be sold or not. If local government has plans to acquire it for building something for public benefit, then the property in question cannot be sold. There may be other reasons too for the local government banning the sale of such property.
- Environment search is needed to confirm whether or not the property is contaminated beyond acceptable limits. In addition, this search provides information on floods risks, and relevant maps.
- Cancel repair dues. The solicitor needs to confirm whether there are any such dues payable.
- Water and sewerage connection searches from water authorities. These are important because the buyer should be aware of these if he or she has plans of modifying the property.
- Searches specific to location, and other optional searches.
The solicitors also help with mortgages by studying the terms and conditions and letting the client know the implications. In addition, conveyancing solicitors help in obtaining a valuation of the property for the purpose of getting the mortgage loan. These solicitors are also in touch with surveyors who help in surveying the property as per the document copy of the sellers, and let the buyer negotiate accordingly.
The next part of conveyancing is signing of the exchange contracts. These are reciprocal conditions between buyers and sellers. For example a sale consideration needs to be paid and a schedule for payment agreed to. Solicitors do the negotiation of all such terms and conditions as deemed necessary and prepare an exchange contract in which some of the terms are to be complied with by the buyer, and other terms and conditions are to be complied with by the seller. There is a time limit defined in these exchange contracts. Solicitors help the buyer negotiate the initial deposit, which if the contract is not concluded on a specified date, will have to be forfeited.
After all the terms and conditions are complied with as mentioned in the exchange contracts, the final part of the deal, i.e., the sale deed is executed. Effectively, the conveyancing procedure is then concluded.