The Conveyancing process made easy
Conveyancing is the process of legally transferring the ownership of a home from a seller to a buyer. It starts when an offer is accepted by a seller and finishes when the buyer receives the keys to the property and moves in. We hope the brief guide below will help you to understand the process and ensure that there are fewer surprises for you as you buy or sell your home.
How does the process start?
You will need to make an offer on a property which is accepted. An estate agent works for the seller of the property and engages in the negotiations. Once a sale has been agreed, you must take the following steps:
Who does the conveyancing?
Only a Guernsey advocate can deal with the conveyancing process. There was a time when it was possible for a seller of a property to be unrepresented, but that is becoming more of a rarity.
The estate agent will draw up draft conditions of sale, which will detail the main elements of the deal, such as the names of the parties, the description of the property and its price, whether there will be a deposit and a completion date.
The advocate or his clerk will then consider the contractual title to the property and undertake searches to check for boundary issues and to ensure that the property has all the rights of access for maintenance, rights of way and other legal considerations are all in place.
Arranging your finance
You will either have made contact with a bank or you will be assisted by an independent financial advisor. Part of the process will be a valuation carried out by a surveyor appointed by the bank to ensure that the amount which the bank lends is appropriate to the value of the property.
A bank’s valuation report will provide very little useful detail about the structure and condition of a property. It will only mention the most serious defects. The purpose of the bank’s valuation is purely to value your home to make sure that the mortgage is not excessive compared to the value of the property.
You should consider obtaining your own survey report so that you know whether the property you are buying has any defects which will need to be repaired and, if so, how much it will cost to repair them. It is not too late to renegotiate the price if problems are discovered.
Signing conditions of sale
Sometimes conditions of sale are signed which give you a period of time to complete the above steps (consulting an advocate, obtaining a survey, obtaining a housing licence (if necessary) and arranging a mortgage) but sometimes conditions of sale are signed once all these steps have been taken.
Once conditions of sale are signed, your advocate would be working towards a completion date when you attend the Contracts Court at the Royal Court House to consent to the sale and purchase.
Before you complete the transaction, you will need to organise your removals.
On the day of completion, you will receive the keys to your new home and be allowed into possession so that you can move in your belongings. Your advocate will deal with the transfer of funds to the seller, will pay document duty to the States of Guernsey and deal with all the other loose ends.
At any stage in the process, we are here to help sellers and buyers alike to understand the conveyancing process and make life as easy as possible for you.