Every day, we get questions about house purchases and sales.
This article is an attempt to answer the conveyancing FAQs which come up most regularly.
If you have a question which you don’t see answered below – or anywhere else on this website – please ask us.
We need instructions from you before we can submit an Offer (or if you are selling the property, and we have not acted for you with regard to the Estate Agency, we will require your instructions prior to us issuing our written acceptance of an Offer).
These can be verbal instructions or written instructions (by way of an email). As required by the Law Society of Scotland, we must send you our Letter of Engagement with our Terms of Business which will require to be signed and returned by you (though we do not need this signed prior to our submitting an Offer). We also need to see ID documents for you, if we have not acted for you within the past two years.
There are a number of factors which have to be taken into consideration but, on average, the time span between issuing an Offer and your getting the keys (or receiving an Offer and your handing over the keys) is between 6 and 8 weeks.
If you are obtaining a mortgage to help fund your purchase, it can be prudent to insert a date of entry into the offer 8 weeks away as it may be possible to bring this date forward if both parties agree. If you do not require a mortgage, and if the seller is agreeable to an early date of entry, it may be possible to complete the conveyancing process within a 4-week timescale.
A Property Enquiry Certificate (or Local Authority Search) will confirm various details which are not covered within the title deeds or the Home Report.
We instruct a Property Enquiry Certificate once the contract has been concluded and we obtain these from Moray Property Searchers at a cost of £115.
The Property Enquiry Certificate will:
- confirm whether the roads and footpaths adjacent to the property are maintained by the Local Authority,
- confirm whether the property is connected to mains water and mains drainage,
- narrate any alterations or extensions which have been carried out on the property, for which Local Authority consents have been issued, and
- state whether the property is affected by various other matters (such as: forming part of a Conservation Area, whether it is a listed building or whether it is affected by a Tree Preservation Order)
We do not require any money from you until about one or two days before the date of entry.
We will request your loan funds (if applicable) for the working day before settlement and we ask that you arrange a bank transfer for the balance required from you by this date also. This will avoid any unnecessary delays on the morning of settlement and should ensure that you are able to collect your keys earlier rather than later.
Once we receive your Mortgage Offer (or Loan Instructions as they are more commonly called) we will receive the Certificate of Title as part of that.
Once the contract has been concluded and a settlement date has been fixed, we fax our Certificate of Title to your lender around one week before settlement – asking that your loan funds be transferred to us on the working day immediately before settlement.
If we have asked the purchaser’s solicitors to telegraphically transfer the purchase price to us, we should be in a position to transfer the free proceeds of sale to you on the same day we receive the money.
Note that this is not always possible. Scottish solicitors still use cheques. If we have received the purchase price by way of a cheque, the balance owed to you will be transferred to you 5 working days after settlement. It is important to understand that cheques received from solicitors will not bounce and you should not be concerned that you have handed over your keys but not yet received your money.
We are happy to explain anything to you which you do not understand. As all Offers submitted and received refer to the Scottish Standard Clauses, there can often be clauses and conditions contained within them which can be difficult to understand. Sometimes particular standard clauses are irrelevant to your situation. We will try and explain any jargon in simple to understand terms.
We would hope that your missives (the letters between solicitors which make up the binding contract of purchase / sale) will be concluded within a couple of weeks from the offer being submitted / received.
The process in Scotland can often see missives being concluded over a month before the date of entry (also known as “completion”). In some cases, complications may arise and missives are not concluded until a few days before the date of entry but both purchaser and seller will be aware of this throughout the conveyancing process.
Some clients are in a position to vacate their property before the date of entry. Others may be purchasing on the same day as they sell.
It is likely that you will leave your property no later than early afternoon on the date of entry. We are required to hand over at least one key to the purchasers on the date of entry. It is entirely up to you whether you hand in all keys to us so that we can release these to the purchasers or whether you wish to give us one key and leave the remainder inside your property. If you have not used our Estate Agency services, you may have to hand the keys in to your Estate Agents for collection by the purchasers.
The keys will usually be available from the Estate Agents (i.e. from us, if you have used us for the Estate Agency) and you can receive these once settlement has taken place. Settlement involves us delivering the purchase price to the sellers’ solicitors and, in turn, them delivering the signed title deed and pertinent documents to us.