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The Conveyancing Process in ScotlandWhether you are buying or a selling a property in Scotland, conveyancing is involved. Many buyers and sellers don’t understand what the conveyancing process is or what’s involved, so here’s a guide explaining it in a bit more detail.
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal transfer of a property from one owner to another. The process involves a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer who acts on behalf of the buyer to ensure their client receives the title deeds to the property and the land it sits on. Conveyancing captures the entirety of the legal and administrative work required to ensure a house purchase is valid under law.
Standard Conveyancing Practice
At some stage of your sale or purchase, you’ll hear your conveyancer or mortgage lender referring to the “exchange of contracts”. The exchange of contracts between buyer and the seller, which is carried out via each party’s conveyancer, is what legally binds both parties to the sale of the property.
Any house sale or purchase is not legally binding until contracts have been signed and exchanged between the buyer and seller. At the time that contracts are exchanged, usually a deposit of around 10% of the sale price of the property is required.
Prior to any contracts being exchanged, either party is able to pull out or cancel the transaction, with no obligations to the other party.
Once contacts have been exchanged, both the buyer and seller are legally committed to the purchase and agreed terms of the sale. If either party pull out of the agreement at this stage they may automatically lose the deposit paid upon exchange.
What Does a Conveyancer Do?
The conveyancing process is a detailed and complex legal process, so it’s recommended to always use an experienced, qualified, property lawyer. Your conveyancer will:
- Liaise with the seller’s solicitor to receive a contract pack
- Request and obtain a copy of your mortgage offer
- Carry out the necessary local authority searches in relation to the property.
- Analyse the results of the local authority searches
- Arrange potential completion dates with both parties
- Swap signed contracts with the seller’s own conveyancer
- Transfer the deposit to the seller’s conveyancer
- Prepare the completion statement and transfer deeds for you to complete
- Transfer the signed transfer deeds to the seller’s conveyancer
- Request payment of the mortgage advance from your lender
- Transfer the balance of the purchase price (less the deposit already paid) to the seller’s conveyancer
- Submit a tax return and pay the required Stamp Duty Land Tax to HM Revenue & Customs
- Forward documentation regarding the transfer of ownership to the Land Registry
- Forward the title deeds to your mortgage lender
While the conveyancer will do the majority of legal work, there will also be responsibilities that fall to the duty of the seller/purchaser during the conveyancing process.
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Author: Andrew MacKenzie