As you know, this year I am running a special series of Industry Info articles all about the conveyancing process; in layman's terms, that's the legal transfer of property ownership from one party to another.
In analysing and breaking down conveyancing into these digestible monthly chunks, many different article ideas and topics have presented themselves to me - and this is one of them.
Essentially, the success of the conveyancing process - as complex and multi-faceted as it is - hinges on one simple thing, and that's good communication.
The solicitor and the estate agent acting for you in the sale of your property should communicate effectively with each other and with the person buying the property in question.
It's a delicate balance, but one that with a bit of planning and simple, honest, straightforward communication not only makes the transaction smoother but reduces stress as the buyer/seller understands what is happening.
These steps below are broad, and I will be digging down into the granular detail of conveyancing in the Industry Information articles to follow - but I felt it was important to give investors and vendors out there an at-a-glance checklist to cover the key stages and what communication they should expect in relation to conveyancing, as it's something often talked about.
The first thing a solicitor must do in the conveyancing process is to source key pieces of paperwork for your property. Once these are checked, they send them to the solicitor acting for your buyer, along with the contract to sign.
They should touch base to let you know this is underway, and to expect the process to take a two to three weeks.
These documents can include:
After those two or three weeks are up, a good solicitor should get in touch with a progress report. By this stage, if everything is going as it should, they should be able to tell you that the deeds and contract are with your purchaser's solicitor, and that we are now either awaiting confirmation of their mortgage, or we have received that confirmation and now we've sent away for the property certificates from the DoE and the Council.
There's a reason a good solicitor waits until this stage to request those certificates, but I will go into that detail - as well as what those property certificates are for - at a later stage in the Industry Information series.
They should advise you now that you'll hear back in about three weeks.
Once they have dotted the 'i's and crossed the 't's, we'll let you know the completion date - this will be when we are due to receive monies from the purchaser's lender, after which we arrange the handover of keys and tie up the completion. You just sold a property!
Now, this is not to oversimplify the process or be glib about it - we all know buying and selling property can be subject to all sorts of unknown factors that can delay things, and it's not always plain sailing.
But that's kind of the point I'm making here, and it harks back to the whole ethos behind this blog.
Communication is key.
Your estate agent, solicitor, mortgage broker, accountant - any professional you deal with in the process of buying or selling property - should be willing able to walk and talk you through the process so that you always know what's going on. They should realise that a simple phonecall to let you know about a delay is enough to put your mind at ease.
So, as with all the articles on this site, it's designed to empower you with the information you need to buy, sell, invest in and make money from property. As well as letting you know what should be happening at each stage, it also lets you know the level of communication you are entitled to from a good solicitor during conveyancing.
Let me know what you thought of this article and if it brought up any questions for you around the issue of conveyancing. If you have any questions or ideas for this blog, I always love to hear them - you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or I can also be found over on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In - happy to chat on any of these channels.
I've also launched a brand new series of videos, giving my Belfast Property Picks - you can find these over on Belfast Property TV, or keep an eye on the socials where I'll also be publishing these.