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Frequently Asked Questions | Conveyancing Explained. | 10 REASONS TO USE US: | Declaration of Trust

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the term for transferring ownership of property from one person to another. This can be much more complex than other types of transactions as your lawyer will have to carry out a number of checks in relation to the property and the land it is on.
For example, does anyone have right of access or rights of way through the land? Does the owner of the property have existing obligations to adhere to, such as a lease or chancel repair liabilities? What restrictions does the lease place on the property owner? The property may be in a conservation area or have tree preservation orders which would restrict what you can do with the land.

A specialist conveyancer will check all these things and many more to ensure that you are fully aware of the legal implications of buying a property and protect you from any nasty surprises later on.

Joint Ownership - What does this mean?

There are two methods by which property can be jointly owned and these differ in relation to what happens on the death of one of the co-owners.

1. Joint Tenancy - the property automatically passes to the survivor regardless of who is entitled to the deceased's property under the terms of the Will or intestacy.

2. Tenancy in Common - where each co-owner has a share in the property which will pass according to his or her Will or intestacy.

Commonly most married couples choose the first option. If you choose the second option we recommend that the respective interest which you will each hold in the property is acknowledged in a Declaration of Trust.

If either party has children, who are not of their present spouse/partner, then this needs to be discussed more fully as the choice made above may affect inheritance by your children on your death.

When a married couple is purchasing property it can be more tax efficient to hold the property as Tenants in Common as this enables you to take advantage of tax relief's on your death (these may not be available if you hold the property as Joint Tenants). In the course of making a Will and carrying out a tax planning exercise in the future you may therefore be advised to change your joint ownership to Tenants in Common.

What searches are carried out and why?

There are five main types of search that can be carried out and the buyers solicitor will decide which of these are necessary in any particular case.

Local Authority Search
This reveals details of the planning history for the property and whether the Council are aware of any breaches of planning, also any proposals  for new roads or traffic schemes, tree preservation orders, conservation areas and any other matters within the Council's control that may affect the property.

Drainage Search
This will show whether or not the surface and/or foul water drains run into a public or private sewer.

Land Registry Search
This is carried out just before completion in order to find out if there are new mortgages registered against the property that have not previously been disclosed. If there are then the buyers solicitor will obviously require confirmation that these will be repaid.

Land Charges Search
If you are obtaining a mortgage the lender will ask your solicitor to carry out a search to make sure that are you are not bankrupt ! Quite often this search will show an entry against someone else with a similar name. If so you will be asked to sign a copy of the result to confirm that it does not relate to you.

Environmental Search
It has more recently been recommended that the buyers solicitor should also carry out an environmental search to see if there are any landfill or waste disposal sites in the area, if the property has been built on an old industrial site and whether there are any risks from contaminated land,toxic emissions, flooding, subsidence etc.

How long will it take?

If the property is empty and the buyer does not require a mortgage, a sale or purchase can all be completed in a few days but this is very unusual.

However it is more likely that a mortgage will be required and there will be a chain of transactions and if that is the case it will usually take 4-6 weeks to exchange contracts and then another 2-4 weeks between exchange of contracts and completion making a total of 6-10 weeks from start to finish.

We will do everything we can to progress your transaction as quickly as possible but we cannot offer any guarantee about how long it will take and you should not believe anyone else that does!

What happens on the completion day?
Completion takes place about 10 days after contracts are exchanged and must be on a week day. This is because the banks do not transfer money at weekends. On the day of completion we send the money to the Seller’s lawyer. Once this has been received you can move into the property and the Seller must move out. Most sellers have packed up and moved out by about mid day, but sometimes it takes them longer and tolerance is needed by everyone on such a busy day. If there are any substantial delays however, you should let us know.

What is a contract race?

Sometimes the vendor offers the property to more than one purchase usually on the basis that the first one to exchange contracts gets the property. The vendor via their property lawyer is obliged to inform the parties concerned if contracts have gone out to more than one purchaser. If you lose out on a contract race you cannot claim your lost expenses from the vendor.

Should I make a will when I buy my house?

Yes! If you have previously made a will, then you also might like to think about amending it since your financial position will almost certainly have changed and you may have widened your responsibility to others. To discuss either making a will, or revising an existing one please call us.

What will I be charged if my transaction falls through?

If your transaction falls through we will charge a proportion of our fee which relates to the amount of work we have carried out, therefore the cost to you will depend on what stage the transaction failed. Any expenses (disbursements) already incurred on your behalf will also be payable.




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