Armed with a mortgage offer, you’re now ready to start the conveyancing process! It’s time to get back in touch with your solicitor. They are a key player at this stage in the game.
How long does conveyancing take?
Of all the steps in the home-buying process, conveyancing tends to be the longest one. ⏳ It can last anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks – sometimes longer depending on the chain of property transactions (how many buyers and sellers have their transactions dependent on each other). Delays can be normal, so be sure to contact your solicitor regularly for updates and to check you’ve provided all the information required from you. Your mortgage case manager can also do the chasing for you.
How does conveyancing work?
Ideally, you’ll have already returned your ‘starter pack’ to your solicitor, along with any upfront payments they’ve requested. If you haven’t, make sure to do this quickly to prevent delays! They will then write to the seller’s solicitor to request the seller’s information and the terms of the sale. This includes information about the fixtures and fittings included with the property, such as ‘white goods’ (appliances). Your solicitor will review all the documents and ask you to review them too. If you have any questions, your solicitor can raise these with the seller’s solicitor.
Once your solicitor has received this information and any upfront payments required, they can apply for searches.
What are searches?
Searches are investigations that uncover information about a property and the surrounding area. 🔎 This is really useful information for you as a home-buyer. Searches reveal things that you wouldn’t be able to spot by viewing a property or getting a survey (see Step 7 – Consider a survey).
Searches generally include:
- Local authority searches – Details of land use in the past, present and future. These searches can reveal local planning issues, or future development plans. For example, if the local authority is planning to build a new motorway right next to your property, you should find about it now.
- Land Registry searches – Confirmation that the seller is the legal owner of the property.
- Water authority searches – Confirmation that the property is connected to a water supply and drainage for waste water.
- Environmental searches – Information on a wide range of environmental issues, including details of any potential land contamination and flooding risks.
- Optional additional searches – Depending on the type or location of the property, you might need other searches. Your solicitor will let you know if this is the case. These can include mining searches if you’re buying a property in a former mining zone, or other region-specific searches.
How long do searches take?
On average, searches can take between 2 to 3 weeks, and longer if the local authority is busy. It’s common for solicitors to raise between 20 and 30 enquiries based on the results of the searches! Don’t worry though – this due diligence is for your own peace of mind.
What happens after searches are complete?
Once your solicitor has reviewed the results of the searches and raised any enquiries, they should send you a ‘Report on Title’ summarising all this information. Read this through and ask your solicitor if anything is unclear, so that you can confidently move forward with the process.
🟠 Time for a check in!
- Any relevant searches on the property or surrounding areas have been completed
- You’ve reviewed the Report on Title with your solicitor
- You’ve asked any questions, are satisfied with the answers and are happy to proceed
Moneybox Mortgage Advice is provided by Moneybox Mortgages Ltd.
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