Conveyancing terms you need to know

The legal profession is complex and has to be precise in context and meaning. To the layman, any process which involves the law can be bewilderingly complex.

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The broad term for all the legal processes involved with buying property is conveyancing. Nowadays it is possible to conduct online conveyancing, with many legal firms offering competitive rates in terms of fees. For further background information on housing law and terminology take a look at:

Here is a summary of the legal terms:

1) Leasehold and Freehold

With freehold, you own the property and the land it stands on, effectively forever. With leasehold, you do not own the land and have to pay rent to the freeholder. Examples of this include Park Homes Gloucestershire way such as

2) Title

This can be the ownership of land and the rights in it. This also refers to documents proving ownership, such as title deeds.

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3) Contract

This is not legally binding until it is signed by both parties. The solicitors of both the buyer and seller also have to sign the contract; this may not happen until very late in the conveyancing process.

4) Land Registry Fee

This the fee payable to Land Registry for obtaining copy documents and for registering change of ownership.

5) Searches

These are carried out to find out anything that will affect the title, use and value of property.

6) Covenants

These are more common in leasehold property. A covenant will affect how the land may be used. There may be restrictions on making alterations or a prohibition on noise late at night.

7) Fixtures and Fittings

It is usual to complete a list for your solicitor so that the purchaser can easily tell what will be left behind. Fixtures are items which are not easily removable, whereas fittings would include, for instance, light bulbs.

8) Deposit

This can mean the difference between the mortgage and the purchase price. In conveyancing, it also means money paid by the purchaser to the vendor at the point of entering into the contract.

9) Property Certificates

There is a local council certificate relating to licensing and building control, and a regional property certificate relating to roads, water and planning.

10) Structural Survey

This is an assessment of the state of the building with an indication of any work that may need carrying out.


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