Whether you’re looking to sell or buy land, sell up or purchase a new home or a buy to let investment, some buyers are unclear to why they cannot handle the conveyancing procedure on their own and wonder exactly why they need to use legal services at all. Is it just administrative rubberstamping? No, the work your conveyancing solicitor does is much more complex and important than that.
The following is a basic guide of what your conveyancing solicitor should do for you as a client and why it is important to seek good legal advice.
The conveyancing process
Your solicitors work in the process buying or selling residential property is as follows:
- Pre-contract searches; these are technical searches done mostly through the local authority and Land Registry (note; other bodies are also used). These searches will identify things such as the property’s boundaries and any rights the land may have the benefit of or be burdened by.
- Pre-contract enquires; your solicitor will form a comprehensive list of enquiries to pose to the seller’s solicitor. This should ensure that anything you need to know about the property is answered in full with any necessary disclosures made from the seller. This process will be used for example to identify exactly what fixtures and fittings are included within the purchase price.
- Report on title; your conveyancing solicitors will always report back you as the client keeping you in the loop with any developments and any results obtained from investigations. When search results and pre-contract enquiries are received back your solicitor will report back detailing these results and any implications these may have on the property’s value.
- Draft a contract of sale; your solicitor will ensure that all aspects of the sale are covered in this contract and they will make any necessary amendments in light of the search results and pre-contract enquiries. At this point a formal offer from your lender should be received.
- Exchange of contracts; this is the stage where the deposit monies are paid over to the other side and you are legally obliged to purchase the property. If you were to pull out at this stage then you would normally loose your deposit money. In light of this, it is crucial to be sure that you are happy with every aspect of the purchase before you get to this stage.
- Completion; the purchase price is paid over to the seller and you are free to move into the property.
- Post-completion actions; here your conveyancing solicitors will ensure that all the logistics of registering title and moving into the property are taken care of, for example; your solicitor will partake in the transfer of purchase deeds, will register your title at the land registry and ensure the payment of stamp duty land tax.
As you can see although the conveyancing process is fairly structured, it can be complex. The dangers of not appointing a property solicitor come in the form or not identifying potential problems with the property and not getting exactly what you bargained for. Appointing a professional solicitor should ensure that there are no hidden surprises when it comes to exchanging contracts and paying over your deposit money.
NB – the process of buying or selling property in auction is quite different. Click here to read about buying property at auction
Attempting to conduct a conveyancing process without professional legal advice is a high-risk strategy that although may save you money in the short term could end up costing you a huge amount in the future. Click here to read more about the very real risks of DIY conveyancing
Click here to read more about the conveyancing timetable
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