Conveyancing in England and Wales is at its simplest when an owner occupier is selling a house with a registered title to a person who requires the house for his own occupation. It is in cases like this which this report describes, and no others. The mailer gets more complicated where the title is not registered) since deducing and investigating an unregistered title are more complicated. It is more complicated, too, where the house is newly built, particularly where it is part of a building estate. In that case, the buyer’s solicitor has to make sure that the boundaries of the property are correctly shown on the plans, that the seller is providing any rights of way, of drainage and similar rights which may be necessary and that the restrictions imposed by the seller are fair. In addition he must ensure that the contract provides that the house itself should be properly built.

Once these matters are settled for the first buyer, they are fixed more or less unalterably for (lie future, so that the solicitors acting for subsequent buyers are very much in the position of having to take things as they find them. It may very well be that they would have dealt with them somewhat differently had they been acting for the buyer at that first purchase. There is often not much they can do when it comes to their turn. The solicitors for subsequent buyers are concerned only to understand the effect of ihe arrangements made when the house was sold for the first time. It is very seldom indeed that a transaction falls through just because of something done, and now incapable of being undone, at the time of the first pun base. The responsibilities on the legal side on the second and subsequent purchases are therefore considerably less than on that vital first purchase when the house was being built. Compare some of the options regarding Conveyancers here.

Other complications arise when part of the property is already let, and the buyer is taking over the sitting tenant. Where there is an existing tenancy, there may be difficulties which the buyer does not readily appreciate. The procedure described in this write up is inappropriate, too, for cases where a person takes a lease at a rent which is not a ground rent. That does not mean to say, however, that leasehold property is excluded from consideration here. It is, of course, quite common to find a house where the owner-occupier is the holder of a lease where the property is a leasehold one, in fact, instead of a freehold. Special legal difficulties arise at the time when the lease is first granted, when the house is built usually, and such cases are excluded from consideration here.

More detailed Legal Conveyancing Resources can be found on the Law Society website here.

But once the lease is granted, and provided the title to it is registered (as it can be where the lease is granted for a term of at least 21 years), the transfer of a leasehold property is little different from the transfer of a freehold. The types of money making available in 2011 vary, however more and more people are choosing trading course orientated education, in a bid to raise multiple income streams for the home. However, this report does not deal with the procedure by which the leaseholder acquires the freehold, something which is becoming more common now that the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 has given him the right to buy the freehold. Nor does this report deal with transfers of maisonettes or flats, that is to say, transfers of a part or parts of a building where other parts of the building are used in common with other people. But that does not mean that terrace and semidetached houses are excluded. Bungalows and cottages also are included: they are covered by the word house.

Business premises are not dealt with here, as special legal problems may arise, even if part of the property is used to live in, as in the case of a flat over a shop. Provided that the house is a second-hand one, at present fully occupied by an owner occupier, and the title to it is registered, an intelligent and industrious non-lawyer should be able to buy or sell it without having a solicitor.

Written by James