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If you are buying or selling a home, you will probably require conveyancing services. You can save money on the cost of conveyancing by comparing conveyancing quotes from various property solicitors.

Conveyancing is part of the legal process which is necessary to buy or sell a property in the United Kingdom.

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What’s In It for You as a First-Time Home Buyer and What You Should be Doing?

While there’s a massive feeling of thrill and excitement when you realise you’re about to take your first step on the property ladder as you buy your first home, you can’t help but also think how the whole process can take so much of your time and possibly bring in an enormous amount of stress.

Let’s do a reality check here. Exciting? Yes. Daunting? Yes. What makes it a bit nerve-wracking is that the legal aspect san be complex and drawn out - given the different stages and tasks to complete.

So, as a first-time buyer, here’s what you can expect of the process and how you can succeed on this venture and still feel happy as you have your purchase offer accepted, till you get the keys to your new home.

Conveyancing - What is it and how is it done?

In simple terms, conveyancing is the process where the property’s ownership is legally transferred from the selling party to you, the buyer. A lot of paperwork and tasks are involved in this process to make sure that the sale-purchase is compliant with the recent regulations, and that your living condition will not be compromised from when you move in.

When it comes to conveyancing, you have the option of having it done the traditional way with a local lawyer or through online conveyancing where a team works on your case and systematically gets everything sorted. While the way these types are quite different, it is rather important that both of them should be accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme to make sure that you case is being handled with diligence and compliant to regulations and quality standards.

When looking for a solicitor to instruct, look into getting several price quotes from different firms or independent practitioners to compare and choose from. Also, don’t forget to make enquiries and get further details from them before you finalise your arrangements.  Don’t fail to check the fine print, too. Some conveyancers advertise very low rates but the additional prints are pretty much undisclosed until the final invoice. This can be an unpleasant surprise, so see to it that you are given a detailed price quote in order for you to set your budget against how much you have to pay.

What to expect in conveyancing quotes?

A couple of things, generally: basic fees - which covers the conveyancer’s time and legal expertise plus admin costs and VAT; and the disbursements - fees paid to third parties that conveyancers cover upfront and charge you later on, plus VAT (searches, surveys, Land Registry fees, etc.)

What happens after instructing the conveyancer?

Here’s a 7-point guide for you:

1. Once your offer is accepted, the estate agent in charge of the sale will notify you and the selling party (the current owner) of the agreement in writing. The notification will contain personal information about you and the seller, property address, and the amount agreed.

2. The seller’s conveyancer will create a draft contract and other legal documents relevant to the transaction, then forward it to your conveyancer for review.

3. Your conveyancer arranges for searches (Local Authority, Chancel Repair Liability, Mining, Water & Drainage, Environmental, etc.) to ensure that there are no issues  within the location that could affect the transaction and your living condition.

4. A survey may also be necessary especially when buying a previously-owned house. When the results are out, you can either renegotiate the price or proceed with signing and exchanging the contracts. It is also at this point where the deposit will be paid, generally set at 10% of the selling price.

5. Following the exchange, which is legally binding, your conveyancer will make the final arrangements: liaising with your lender to have the mortgage funds forwarded to the seller; assist with the registration of the property in your name, and; organising the paperwork for payment of Stamp Duty.

6. While you’re making your arrangements with a removal company, don’t forget to settle the bill with your conveyancer.

7. When your seller confirms they have received the funds from your mortgage lender, they should forward the keys to the property through the estate agent or their solicitor. Your conveyancer will then collect and forward them to you. Or in some instances, you can directly collect them from the estate agent’s office.