Overcoming Common Conveyancing Challenges
When buying a property in the UK, it has been said over and over in a lot of tips and articles that instructing a conveyancer to oversee the legal completion of the transaction and transfer of property ownership from one party to another is crucial. It is so important that you, as a buyer (whether doing it for the first time or not), should be careful in choosing the conveyancing solicitor to act on your behalf.
While you may be given a commitment that the process can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, or maybe even quicker, you might want to also anticipate some unexpected delays. And if this happens, you have every right to ask your conveyancer and find out what can be done about it.
If you are not satisfied with what they tell you regarding the delay and their action plan, you may actually wish to consult an experienced adviser, like the Citizens Advice Bureau on how to go about it. The complaint may be logged right away and you will be advised accordingly.
When you pay a deposit on the property you’re buying, it is generally held by the (seller’s) conveyancer. The interest incurred on it while it sits on their bank account is kept by them until they have to pass it on to the seller during completion. If the conveyancer refuses to forward the interest, sellers may take this up to the Legal Ombudsman for proper resolution.
The United Kingdom, however, may have different venues on conveyancing complaints. Generally in England and Wales, these are taken care of by the Legal Ombudsman, whilst the Law Society is in charge of it in Northern Ireland.
Too Expensive Conveyancing Fees
Whilst it is generally ideal to ask for conveyancing quotes first so you can set your budget and find out how you can save some money in the process, there are times that you’ll realise that you are billed outrageously. You may not be obligated right away to pay the bill right away, but we strongly suggest that you check that all the costs are clearly itemised. Ask your conveyancer to explain anything that you do not understand, and have them talk to you about what was covered in the upfront fees.
If you’re still unsatisfied with the bill though, you may want to file a complaint against the conveyancer and find out how it can be resolved.
There are times that the process may not go favourably and make you feel that your conveyancer has been a bit negligent in their duties. For instance, when the sale is completed, a problem with the boundary wall is discovered or a road widening program will affect the size of the garden, hence reducing the potential value of the property. If this happens, you may get compensated by filing a suit against the conveyancer.
If it’s poor service that you’re looking to complain about, you may take it up with their firm’s complaint department to see their procedure in it. Otherwise, you can take it up to the Legal Ombudsman for further action.
The Law Society will also have a hand at your complaint if you really feel that you case should have been handled better. If you are really not satisfied with the result of your complaint, an experienced adviser may be needed. We suggest that you consult the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for this and see how your issue can be resolved.
Conveyancing and First-Time Home Buyers
You’re about to buy your own house, and this is your first step on the property ladder. While you may have prepared yourself well with the huge financial responsibility, one thing gets you confused - conveyancing. You may have heard of it from a relative or a friend who went through the process and may have been taken aback by some horror stories of how it failed as well.
While the feedback you have gotten about conveyancing may be ominous, you should know better than think of it as complicated. And to even ease your worries, here’s what conveyancing is generally like for first-time home buyers like you.
It’s pretty straightforward, really. Conveyancing is known as the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property from one party to another - you, the buyer. And just like most processes, there are a number of tasks involved in it. And that’s something most people are confused and scared of.
Verification - This is one of the very first tasks involved in the conveyancing process. Property solicitors or licensed conveyancers will have to check first if there are no problems with the title deed of the property involved, the seller’s eligibility to sell, and your own legal and financial capability to buy.
Searches - Just as important as everything else in the process, conveyancing searches makes sure that the property and the area do not have issues that could affect your general living condition. This includes checking with the Local Authorities if there are planning and development issues that can affect the property, water and drainage facilities, chancel repair obligations, mining, flooding issues and flood risks, environmental issues, etc.
Surveys - While you should generally get this done by a professional surveyor, your conveyancer may be able to help with choosing an expert to see if the property has structural damages or issues that needs repair, as you can use such to renegotiate the price.
Payments - Your conveyancer will basically be in charge of the fees involved in the tasks and charge you later on )these are called disbursements), except for Stamp Duty and the price of the property. With such, they will generally hold the monies for you and have them forwarded to the right parties (Stamp Duty to HMRC and the payment for the house to the seller’s solicitor).
When Should You Instruct a Conveyancer
Find a conveyancer ahead of time - anytime before you start looking for a house and making an offer. This will put you at an advantage in terms of getting proper legal advice, especially if this is your first time and you’re in doubt in terms of how much to offer. Conveyancers may also be able to help with working on your mortgage application. What you can do is look for potential diligent conveyancing solicitors on the internet, ask for and compare quotes online, and choose the one that you think will give you the best value for your money.
When choosing though, always keep in mind that you should hire someone who works on the process with utmost compliance to regulations and standards of quality. In other words, check the conveyancer or the firm you like to instruct against the list of Conveyancing Quality Scheme accredited members.
Also,it is worth remembering that the conveyancing process takes weeks, even months to complete, so it’s best that you instruct a conveyancer who can properly set your expectations, meet them and properly advise you of potential delays while keeping you updated with where you are at in terms of completion.
Lastly, when choosing, do not settle for cheap as they’re often very dodgy. Look for someone who can print out a transparent list of legal fees and disbursements. It is not worth “saving” a lot of money while being shown a rather incompetent job. Buying a house is a serious matter, and its success depends on how good your conveyancer is when it comes to completing the legal process.
Top 3 Indicators That You’ve Chosen the Right Conveyancer
When buying a property, whether for the first time or not, you would know that your transaction is in good hands of you have instructed a competent conveyancing solicitor to make sure that the property’s ownership is legally transferred in your name, Because conveyancing involves a lot of tasks, and some of them might be complicated, it’s best to listen to what your friends and family may recommend or have a look at their reputation before letting them act on your behalf.
It would also help if you try and search for conveyancers before looking for a property to buy. If you have made a choice ahead of time, you’ll have the advantage of getting proper legal advice and value added services whilst looking for the best house you want to buy and getting your budget sorted.
And because the conveyancing market has become competitive, the price for services has also become relatively competitive - with some offering cheaper prices than the others. Whilst cheap may sound good, you’re better off checking the fine print when seeing the price quotes firms and independent solicitors give you.
And even though you’re in a budget here and price should be the first thing to consider when choosing a conveyancer, do not be fooled and compromise the quality of service expected of them. To help you find out if you have instructed a reasonably priced but diligent conveyancer, here are three of the most popular indicators.
Because conveyancing is a legal process, the person working on it should be accredited and licensed. Although there is no law preventing you from carrying out the process, some of the parties involved and you have to deal with in the process would require a licensed conveyancer. Their accreditation, particularly with the Conveyancing Quality Scheme, indicates that they follow procedures that are compliant with the latest regulations and standards of quality. If you’re in doubt of any of your choices, check them out through the list of Law Society members.
Choosing a local conveyancing solicitor might come in really handy, especially if you want to meet with them personally to discuss updates or bring documents over to their office. More so, it may be more convenient for you knowing that they are well-versed with local property transaction regulations in the area where you are buying the house from.
But with the advancement of the conveyancing process, it may not be too ideal anymore to choose a local solicitor. You can actually look for someone equally experienced on the Internet and expect to have your purchase completed just as trouble-free. Just make sure that they have effective communication channels available so as not to keep you in the dark with the progress of your transaction.
Not all licensed (and CQS accredited) conveyancers are experts. Some of them are quite new to the field and it may get you worried if you’re looking for a speedier process. It is always best that you instruct a conveyancer who knows his way around through his years of experience in the process. They may be a bit more expensive than the greenhorns, but a few extra pounds off your budget may also mean the better and more efficient services, and a faster completion.
While budget should be at the top of your list at this point as there are tons of things to spend for when buying a property, make sure that when choosing a conveyancing solicitor you hire someone who will look after your best interest and give nothing but the best value for your money. If money’s a little tight, try and check out some conveyancing quotes online and choose from them.