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Conveyancing Q&A – 10 most common questions

Here at PGM we have an expert conveyancing team so you can rest assured that your transaction will be in safe hands. We understand that what you want is simply to be in your new home, and it is our job to make that happen as swiftly and as smoothly as possible.
  1. When should I instruct a solicitor?

If you instruct a solicitor as soon as you decide to buy or sell, you will be able to pass on their details to an estate agent as soon as an offer is accepted. If you are selling, your solicitor will also be able to start putting together the necessary documentation for your buyer’s solicitor so that it is ready to go as soon as you accept an offer. If you are buying we will check that you will not be taking on any unexpected legal problems which could affect your use or ownership of the property or which could cause problems when you come to sell it.

We will investigate potential legal pitfalls and will also provide you with useful and practical legal information relating to your new property. If you are selling, we will put together all the necessary legal information and answer all the questions raised by the other solicitors. We also deal with discharging any mortgages secured on the property. Conveyancing can be a complex process. During your transaction we will explain to you what we are doing and what will happen next.

  1. When should I apply for a mortgage?

You can start looking for the right mortgage as soon as you decide you want to buy a property. You can then apply for a mortgage offer in principle before you find a property, which will help to avoid delay later on. It also demonstrates to potential sellers that you are a serious buyer and are ready to move.

  1. Do I need to choose a local solicitor?

No, not at all. You do not need to choose a solicitor who is local to where you currently live, or who is local to the property you are buying.

Quite often, everything can be done by post, email and phone. So you can choose a Conveyancer who is located anywhere in England and Wales, regardless of which part of the country you live in.

  1. What do I need to do to support the process?

Your Conveyancer will do the majority of the work, but there are a few things that you will need to do. Your Conveyancer will advise you on exactly what is required, as and when the time arises.

For example, at the start of the Conveyancing process you will need to provide proof of ID and address. If you are buying a property then you’ll also need to:

  • Arrange the mortgage
  • Provide proof of funds for the money you are using
  • Put buildings insurance in place before the exchange of contracts
  • Check the terms of the contract
  • Review the results of the survey and property searches, and raise any queries
  • Sign any paperwork, including the contract
  1. How long will it take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move into your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 12-16 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a first-time buyer, purchasing a new build property with a mortgage in principle, it could take 12 weeks.

However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 4 and 6 months. In such, a situation additional charges would apply.

The main causes of delays are waiting for mortgage offers and unexpected complications. Making a mortgage application early on will help. Until a mortgage offer is received Exchange of Contracts cannot take place.

If a survey is to be undertaken, it is also important that the surveyor is instructed at the earliest opportunity. The most common problems relate to planning permissions, boundaries and survey problems.

  1. How much does Conveyancing cost?

For our fees, visit our conveyancing calculator.

  1. Do I need a survey?

It is always recommended that you obtain a survey when buying property to avoid awful surprises later on. If you are buying a property with a mortgage your mortgage lender will probably undertake a valuation. A valuation is not the same as a survey.

With many properties it is a good idea to have a survey. There are two types of surveys. A home-buyers survey or builder’s survey (previously known as a structural survey). We can recommend a surveyor to you.

  1. How does a conveyancing chain work?

When you buy and/or sell you are likely to be in a chain of people whose transactions depend on each other. You will need to wait until everyone in the chain is ready to exchange and then everyone will agree an acceptable completion date so that the whole chain can move together. Until contracts are exchanged, someone can pull out of a property sale or purchase. Once contracts have been exchanged, they are legally bound to complete the transaction.

  1. What is the difference between exchange and completion?

Exchange of contracts normally takes place a week or two before completion. On exchange, you are legally agreeing to complete the sale or purchase on the specified date and at the specified price. Once exchange has happened you can prepare for your moving day. Completion is the day when you will move into your new home or hand over the keys to the property you are selling.

  1. Why choose PGM solicitors?

Here at PGM we have an expert conveyancing team so you can rest assured that your transaction will be in safe hands. We understand that what you want is simply to be in your new home, and it is our job to make that happen as swiftly and as smoothly as possible.

We are a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) – the mark of excellence for the home buying process. To achieve this, we underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process.

We are not a call centre. When you contact us, you will not be passed from pillar to post between departments, you will speak to your conveyancer. The person you instructed at the outset of your transaction will be the very same person who will advise you each and every step along the way, right down to the point of letting you know that you have just successfully purchased or sold your house. We pride ourselves on this personal touch.

We try to avoid jargon – the law is complicated enough without adding to it with unnecessarily complicated terminology. We endeavour to explain everything in plain English, but if you do find that there are certain terms you don’t understand, all you need do is ask us and we’ll break them down for you.

The stages of the process at PGM Solicitors

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below is an outline of the stages in a straight forward transaction:

  • Take your instructions and give you initial advice
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender’s solicitors if needed
  • Receive and advise on contract documents
  • Carry out searches
  • Obtain further planning documentation if required
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
  • Give you advice on all documents and information received
  • Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you
  • Send final contract to you for signature
  • Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Complete purchase
  • Deal with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax
  • Deal with application for registration at Land Registry

To begin your conveyancing journey with us, call our specialist team on 01792 468684 or email

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