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Sewell & Gardners Frequently Asked Conveyance Questions

Buying or selling a property is one the biggest events in someone’s life and is ranked as one of the most stressful.


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If you are about to buy or sell a property then you will need to understand the conveyance procedure. We have put together a list of questions frequently asked by our purchasers and vendors using the least amount of legal jargon as possible.

How long is the conveyance procedure?

The fastest transaction takes place where a buyer is paying cash and no chain in involved, this can be exchanged and completed within a matter of 6 – 8 weeks. When a chain is involved there can be delays above or below a buyer. A common delay on exchange can also be down to the buyers’ mortgage offer, delays in enquiries, searches or  leasehold management packs.

Does a buyer always need a survey?

If a buyer is getting a mortgage then the lender will arrange a mortgage valuation survey for the property, which is not detailed. For an extra fee the buyer can purchase either a ‘Homebuyers report and survey’ or a ‘full structural survey’. Usually a buyer will get a ‘Full Structural Survey’ if the property is old. If there is no mortgage required then it is the buyer’s decision as to whether or not they get the property surveyed.

What is meant by ‘exchange’ and ‘completion’?

Most of the solicitor’s legal work is carried out before contracts are ‘exchanged’. Contracts are only exchanged when both buyer and seller have approved an identical contract, signed it and the buyers have transferred an exchange deposit. At this point the sale becomes legally binding. If a buyer fails to ‘complete’ the seller can retain the exchange deposit and has the right to sue the buyer (but this happens very rarely). At the point of completion, keys and title deeds to the property are handed over to the purchaser.

What is a Local Search?

This is a standard form sent to the local council where the solicitor will try to find out information that may affect the property. The search will include information on any planning permissions that might affect the property or if the property has already been extended it may reveal that the work carried out is in breach on any planning regulations.

What are Solicitors Enquiries?

The buyer’s solicitors will raise questions to the seller’s solicitors to try and obtain as much information on the property as possible. These enquiries will ask for information on any building work carried out on the property, fixtures and fittings included in the sale and any problems the seller might have had with neighbours. If it is a purchase of leasehold property the solicitor will request details on the managing agents and lease. All enquiries are satisfied before contracts are exchanged.

Does a solicitor charge extra for a Leasehold Property?

Usually there is an extra charge for a leasehold property and the conveyance process will be longer.

What is an indemnity policy?

An indemnity policy is an insurance policy with a one-off fee that acts as a cover for a defect in the property title. If an indemnity policy is required it usually only becomes apparent whilst the solicitors are raising enquiries and either the buyer or seller may choose to cover the cost of the policy – this is often argued between solicitors!

Most common indemnity policies are due to:

  • Lack of planning permission
  • Lack of building consent
  • Breach of a restrictive covenant
  • Delay in obtaining a local search
  • Absentee Landlord

Prices of indemnity policies can vary from £25 to £250 or more

What is a Title Deed?

A title deed is a legal document, which is used to prove ownership of a property. A Title Deed is necessary where people want to transfer ownership of a property. Most of the title deeds are now not required as the title ownership is registered at the land registry and now registered on-line.


When does the buyer need to take out home insurance?

Building insurance is normally the buyers’ responsibility from the point of exchange. Often the buyers lender covers buildings insurance but if not the lender will require full details before mortgage funds are released. Many leasehold properties building insurance policies are covered by the landlord or managing agents.

Tenant & Landlord Survey