Residential Property & Conveyancing FAQs
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property or piece of land.
Do you need a solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property?
Some conveyancing quotes can be expensive, which makes it very tempting to ‘Do it Yourself’. However, the DIY method can be risky. Depending on the house you are buying and where it’s located, the process may be complicated. Without knowing what’s involved, mistakes can be made, and the warning signs missed.
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What is the difference between a Leasehold and Freehold Property?
If you purchase a freehold property, you will own the property and the land on which it is built. Purchasing a leasehold property means that you will own the property for a fixed term, but you do not own the land. Usually, an annual ground rent will be charged and at the end of the term, the land reverts to the person or company who own the land.
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How long does the conveyancing process take?
This depends on the complexity of your purchase or sale. The process usually takes between 6-8 weeks. However, if you are in a chain, for example, the process is likely to take a little longer.
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What is the difference between an exchange of contracts and completion?
Exchange of contracts happens when the buyer and seller enter into a legally binding agreement to buy and sell on a set date. As soon as contracts have been exchanged, both parties are committed and cannot pull out of the transaction without incurring legal penalties. Usually the buyer will pay a deposit (commonly 10%) on exchange.
Completion is the agreed date when final payment will be made, and the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Once your lawyer receives the monies, they will confirm you can collect the keys and move in.
How much does conveyancing cost?
You will find the cost of conveyancing will vary. Some solicitors or licensed conveyancers will charge on a sliding scale, according to the value of your property. Others will offer a fixed price. Details of our prices are set out in full here.
What are disbursements?
Disbursements are fees that your lawyer or conveyancer will need to pay on your behalf to third-party for their services. This will include conveyancing searches and stamp duty.
Will I have to provide Identification?
Yes, this is needed to complete either a sale or a purchase. All solicitors (lenders, accountants and estate agents too), are required by law to satisfy the Money Laundering Regulations. These stipulate that we must obtain evidence of a client’s identity. If a family member or friend is making a gift of money towards your purchase, we’ll also need certified photo identification and proof of address from them. Every solicitors’ practice also has an internal policy which may impose further requirements.
I don’t have any photo identification, what should I do?
As an alternative, it’s usually acceptable to provide three different official documents that you’re your address together with your birth certificate. However, further information or verification of your identity may be required.
If I’m an existing Curtis Parkinson client, will I need to provide documents for an ID check again?
It depends how old the identification is that we hold for you, what type of identification we hold and what it is that you are instructing us to do for you.
My ID documents still show my maiden name. Will I need to provide any other information?
Yes, we need your identification in your legal name. You will also need you to provide your marriage certificate.
My parents are gifting money towards the deposit, do I need to tell you?
Solicitors also have a duty to verify your parents’ identity and see proof of funds. This also applies to any other third party such as a partner or other family member who may be helping you financially.
If you are obtaining a mortgage to purchase the property, solicitors are also under an obligation to disclose any gift to the mortgage lender. They will also need to sign a gift declaration confirming that the money they are providing is purely a gift and is not repayable and they do not have any interest in the property. The solicitors will also have to verify the source of funds and follow their money laundering and identification requirements.
What are property searches?
Conveyancing property searches are reports that reveal if there are any risks to a property being purchased in relation to issues like contaminated land, flooding, planning, mining or subsidence, and more.
What is Stamp Duty (SDLT) and will I need to pay it?
Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid to the Government when you buy a property. The rate you pay depends on the value of the property you buy. Unless it’s your first home, or you are otherwise exempt from paying SDLT, you will usually pay SDLT if you have bought a house over £125,000. If it’s your first home, you will only pay SDLT on purchases over £300,000.
Your lawyer will retain the amount of SDLT and then pay it to HMRC when your property purchase has completed.
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