The legal term for transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer is known as conveyancing. This term covers an extensive process in which there are several different stages, each to be addressed with equal attention. Drawing on the expertise of residential conveyancing solicitors will help to ensure that the legal processes of your house sale or purchase run smoothly.

Residential conveyancing solicitors to avoid delays and complications

There are several ways in which a conveyancing transaction can be disrupted or delayed, and this can cause subsequent increased costs. Engaging solid, expert legal advice is the best way to avoid this. All of the Oratto member lawyers featured on this page are experts in residential conveyancing. For help with your property purchase or sale, select a name from the list, or alternatively send your details through to Oratto and we can make that selection for you, based on your individual requirements.

Draft contracts

Once you have a conveyancing solicitor in place, they will take the first step of drawing up the terms of engagement, or draft contract, which will then be exchanged with the other party's solicitor, along with a request for any other details. There will then be important checks to be done, such as ascertaining whether the house is freehold or leasehold. If it's the latter, then that can potentially cause problems depending upon the length of the lease. Leases under 60 years should be avoided completely and those under 80 years should be treated with caution. You will only be able to extend the lease if you have owned the property for two years or more and it can be expensive to do so.

Legal searches

There are a number of key legal searches for your residential conveyancing solicitor to carry out during a property purchase. The purpose of these is to reveal details about the property which you need to be aware of, and which are not immediately obvious by viewing it. These searches include:

  • Land Registry check of the appropriate title plan and title register. These title deeds are the legal documents which prove the seller's ownership
  • Local Authority Search to check whether there are any onerous plans in place for the property, such as planning a new traffic route across your land
  • Information about contaminated land, flood risks and landfill sites, amongst others, can be found by carrying out an Environmental Search. If you choose not to have an Environmental Search carried out, basic information about the flood risk to the property can be found in the Land Registry

Depending upon the location of the property, there are also extra, more specific, searches which can be carried out, such as Mining Searches and those for pipelines, common land and public paths. Your chosen solicitor will be able to advise you on the really pertinent searches for your chosen property and also the costs involved. While extra cost at the outset can sometimes feel counterintuitive, the financial impact of a missed search can be significant.

Mortgages and finalising the contract

One of the most important aspects of moving house is sorting out your mortgage. Once organised, your Oratto member solicitor will receive a copy of the loan offer to go through and check the conditions.

The next stage is signing the contracts, this is when the equitable title to the property passes. This can only be done once:

  • your fixtures and fittings expectations have been confirmed
  • the completion date has been agreed
  • all the enquiries that have been made are complete and satisfactory
  • arrangements for the transfer of the deposit into your solicitor's account have been made

Exchange of contracts

The exchange is carried out on a pre-arranged day, at a specified time. Your chosen solicitor will carry this out; usually the solicitors for both parties will check the contracts over the phone to ensure they are identical and then they will be sent in the post to each solicitor immediately after.

Once exchange of contracts occurs and the deposit is paid the sale of the property becomes legally binding. It becomes very difficult to pull out of the transaction from this point and anyone who wishes to go no further with the sale, be it buyer or seller, may become liable for costs and could be sued through the courts for breach of contract.

Completion and moving in

Once contracts have been exchanged a date is then set for completion day, i.e. when the legal title passes to the buyer and the seller must vacate so that the new owner can move in.

On this day, the buyer must ensure all monies owed, including conveyancing fees, stamp duty etc, are transferred to their solicitor's account. The solicitor will then transfer the necessary funds to the seller's solicitor. This usually happens by 3pm at the latest and, from that point on, the buyer will be able to take occupancy of the property.

Residential conveyancing solicitors for peace of mind

Moving house can be a complicated, stressful time, especially combined with the demands of everyday life. Contact expert residential conveyancing solicitors from Oratto today for support and guidance in handling each stage of the conveyancing process.