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The Steps Involved in Commercial Conveyancing

Real estate agent with house model and keys

Commercial conveyancing, the legal process of transferring commercial property from one owner to another, is a surprisingly complex and multifaceted undertaking. It involves a series of crucial steps that require meticulous attention to detail, and depending on the complexity of the transaction, a deep understanding of legal and regulatory requirements. Whether you’re buying or selling a commercial property, understanding these steps can demystify the process and ensure a smoother transaction. This article will go over all of the steps involved in the commercial conveyancing process and what the expectations are for both sides of the transaction.

Initial Agreements & Due Diligence

The first step in commercial conveyancing involves the drawing up of initial agreements between the buyer and the seller. This typically includes a Heads of Terms document, that outlines the key terms of the deal, such as the purchase price, deposit amount and any conditions precedent to the sale. Following this, due diligence is usually conducted by the buyer’s legal team. This comprehensive investigation into the property ensures there are no legal, financial or physical issues that could affect the value or use of the property. Due diligence encompasses a wide range of enquiries, from land registry checks and planning permissions to environmental searches and structural surveys.

Drafting & Negotiating Contracts

Once due diligence is satisfactorily completed, the next step involves drafting the sale contract. This document is crucial, as it legally binds both parties to the transaction and outlines the rights and responsibilities of each. The contract will detail the agreed terms, including the sale price, completion date and any warranties or indemnities. Negotiations may occur at this stage to fine-tune the contract terms until both parties are satisfied. It’s imperative that both the buyer and seller review the contract thoroughly with their solicitors to ensure that all aspects of the deal are accurately represented and understood.

Searches & Enquiries

Concurrent with contract negotiations, a series of legal searches and enquiries are undertaken to uncover any additional information that might impact the buyer’s decision or the property’s value. These can include local authority searches, which reveal details about planning permissions and road schemes, drainage and water searches and environmental searches. The results of these searches may necessitate further negotiations if new information comes to light that affects the property’s desirability or valuation.

Exchange of Contracts & Completion

The exchange of contracts is the point at which the agreement becomes legally binding. Both parties’ solicitors will exchange signed copies of the contract, and the buyer will usually pay a deposit at this stage. Between exchange and completion, final preparations are made for the transfer of ownership. This includes finalising any remaining financial arrangements and ensuring all legal documentation is in order.

Completion is the final step in the commercial conveyancing process, where the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller, and ownership of the property is officially transferred to the buyer. It’s at this point that the buyer can take possession of the property and the seller must have vacated the premises.

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