New Homes Conveyancing Process
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one person to another. This is usually carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
Here you can find out more information including a step by step guide about the Initial Sales and Conveyancing Process when buying a new home.
Initial Sales Process
- When you have found the home for you, you will need to make a payment to reserve it (Reservation Fee).
- The sales agent will go through the reservation process with you and explain the paperwork and individual details that apply to your property, including any incentives.
- They will update you on timescales and give you an indication of when your new home should be ready to move into.
- You will need to speak to an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) in order to arrange a Mortgage. We can supply you with a list of IFAs that we recommend if you prefer.
- You will go through your financial background in order to establish the share of the property which you are qualified to buy.
- You will need to instruct a Solicitor to act on your behalf to do the necessary legal work (known as Conveyancing). The sales agent can recommend a solicitor to you if you would like.
- Once all paperwork is completed, the sales agent will produce a Memorandum of Sale confirming the agreed price and details of the Buyer, Seller and their respective Solicitors.
For a further breakdown of the Conveyancing Process checkout our below guide!
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership of land or buildings. A licensed conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor will work on behalf of the person buying or selling the property to make sure the necessary contracts and documents are signed and transferred.
The conveyancing process normally takes around 12 weeks. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays to the process.
In summary the main steps are:
Pre contract work: appoint conveyancer, instruct local searches, get survey, get draft contract
Time to arrange mortgage
Draft contract: reviewing survey report, local searches, answering outstanding questions
Time between exchange and completion
Total time from an offer being accepted to completion
Step 1 - Instruction
- The Solicitor acting for you will confirm instructions by sending you a letter with terms of business and cost of fees and disbursements and carry out identity checks.
- Both Solicitors will be sent the Memorandum of Sale and will then begin the Conveyancing Process.
- The Solicitors will send initial letters to one another to confirm that they are acting.
Step 2 - Mortgage
- Your Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) will check the market for the best product to suit your personal needs and then proceed to make an application to a Lender on your behalf.
- The Lender will require a Surveyor to carry out a Valuation of the property.
- Once the Mortgage is agreed, the Lender will send you a Mortgage Offer. Your Solicitor will go through the Offer and check the conditions. They may produce a Mortgage Report.
- The Mortgage Offer will need to be approved by the sales agent and your Solicitor will be sent the Mortgage Approval.
- The sales agent will also produce a CML Certificate which confirms that the property has been built in accordance with the plans and to a satisfactory standard. Your Lender will require this to satisfy their checks before they release funds to you.
Step 3 - Contract Pack: Fire Risk Assessment
- The Seller’s Solicitors will produce a Draft Contract Pack which will include all important information relating to the property which you are purchasing. This can vary from property to property, however usually this will entail: Lease, Lease Plan, Agreement for Lease, Title Documents, Planning Documents, Insurance Policy, EPC, Building Regulations Certificates, Service Charge Budget, Warranty Certificate, Fire Rick Assessment and other handover documents such as electrical and gas certificates.
Step 4 - Searches
- Your Solicitor will submit Searches on the property. These are necessary so that you can find out if there are any issues you need to be aware of before you take ownership of your new home. They are also required by the Lender who will want to be certain that there is nothing which could affect the property's value before they offer you a Mortgage.
- These can vary but the most important are Local Search, Environmental Search, Water and Drainage Search and Chancel Liability Search.
- Please note these searches are carried out in respect of the property only and will NOT disclose any issues concerning neighbouring properties nor matters arising after the date of the Searches.
Step 5 - Enquiries
- Once your Solicitor has been through the Contract paperwork and Searches, they may raise Additional Enquiries with the Seller’s Solicitor.
- The reason for enquiries is for your Solicitor (on your behalf and also your lender) to satisfy themselves that the property being purchased is both 'mortgageable' and 'sellable' on the open market.
- The legal principle “caveat emptor” is a Latin principle meaning “let the buyer beware” and it requires you, as the buyer, to investigate the property you are buying to discover any issues before committing to buy it.
- The Seller’s Solicitor may need to refer some of the enquiries to their client or third parties so sufficient time should be given to this part of the Conveyancing Process.
- When the Buyer’s Solicitors believe that enquiries have been sufficiently answered (and adhered to Lender requirements) they will produce a Report on Title. This will outline all the information you need to know about the property which you are purchasing, including any adverse entries you may need to be aware of.
Step 6 - Completion Date Discussed
- When you are satisfied with the property you are purchasing, you will sign the documents (Lease, Lease Plan, Agreement for Lease, Mortgage Deed) and the Solicitors will agree a completion date.
- The time between exchange and completion is usually one month, but it can be sooner if both parties agree.
- If the property is not built yet, you will agree to Complete on Notice. This will mean that the Seller’s Solicitors will inform your Solicitor when the property is built and you will need to complete within a certain timeframe usually 14 days depending on your terms.
- You will need to transfer an agreed Deposit to your Solicitor.
Step 7 - Exchange of Contracts
- Once you Exchange Contracts, both parties are legally bound to buy and sell the property for the agreed price on the agreed completion date.
- The Deposit is usually sent to the Seller’s Solicitors. They are legally entitled to this money if something should go wrong and the property does not complete.
- The Seller’s Solicitors will send a Completion Statement to your Solicitor. You will need to send the balance of completion monies to your Solicitor.
- Your Solicitor will notify your Lender that contracts have been exchanged and Mortgage monies are required for the completion date.
- You can now book movers and give notice on your existing home (if you are renting).
- If the property is not built yet, our sales team will aim to keep you updated with progress. It may be possible to offer site visits on an appointment-only basis once your home has reached a stage of construction where it is safe to view. Please note, this might be restricted due to Covid-19.
- (The sales team will usually get in touch with you in the run up to completion to arrange a demonstration visit. This will be once all the works have been completed and the property has been cleaned. It gives you the opportunity to have a good look round and to receive instruction from our sales advisers on the operation of all the appliances in your new home and ask any questions you may have.)
Step 8 - Completion
- On the Completion Date your Solicitor will send by same day money transfer to the Seller’s Solicitor the monies required to purchase the Property.
- It is advisable for you to liaise with the sales agent directly to clarify key release arrangements to avoid any misunderstandings. However, PLEASE NOTE that the Seller is not obliged to release the keys to you until the purchase monies have been received by the Seller’s Solicitor.
- Once completion monies are received, the Seller’s solicitor will authorise the release of the keys to you via the sales agent.
- Congratulations you now own your new home!
Step 9 - Post-Completion
- On the day of Completion, Network's Aftercare Team will carry out a demonstration of the property with you. A Home User Guide will also be provided.
- You will be assigned a dedicated Leasehold Manager who can help with any queries you may have once you move in.
- Take meter readings and notify the relevant utility companies as soon as you move in.
- The Seller’s Solicitor will send your Solicitor the completed Lease and they will an application to H M Land Registry to register the property in your name and register your Mortgage as a Charge.