FAQs about Residential Conveyancing

Conveyancing – What is it?

This is the proper legal term for the legal work carried out for the buying, selling, remortgaging and letting of properties.

How long does the conveyancing process take ?

The length of the process depends on the circumstances of the deal and the other parties involved. If you are going to buy a property for cash and there is no chain then, with the co-operation of the other side’s solicitors, the process may only take a week.

If however you need a mortgage then the process will take anywhere between six and ten weeks especially in you are in a chain.

If you are selling your property then you must consider whether your buyer needs to sell a property first to fund your sale. This is what is called the property “chain” and the deal can only move as fast as the slowest part of the chain.

Is it possible for either party to withdraw from the process without being penalised ?

Yes but only if you have not exchanged contracts. If you have exchanged contracts and you want to pull out then you will lose your deposit. Assuming you have not exchanged then your only losses will be costs already incurred which will be lost ie survey fees and legal fees. Requests are sometimes made for the defaulting party to make a contribution but they are not legally obliged to pay.

What are restrictive covenants and how do they affect me?

When a land owner sells land and wants to retain some control over the land it is called a ‘restrictive covenant’. For example a prohibition on the number of cars allowed to park on a property with a carpark.

I’ve agreed a price but want to renegotiate. Is this possible?

As long as you have not exchanged contracts then you can. If you have conducted a survey and find something integral is missing or there is concealed damage which devalues the property then you can ask that the property price be reduced. The seller does not have to accept the reduced price.

Can I access the property before completion ?

You will need to ask the seller for permission to do this. As long as the property is empty you may be allowed access although this is far from standard. You should notify the seller’s solicitors as soon as possible. The usual reason that access is granted is to allow essential work to be performed.

Access is sometimes permitted after exchange of contracts and the payment of a deposit alongside agreeing to a key undertaking.

Can completion take place at the weekend ?

Not usually. The reason for this is that money needs to transfer to the other side’s solicitor in order for the completion to take place. Lawyers’ offices are normally only open from Monday to Friday.