Whether you are a first-time buyer or an established home owner, some of the terminology used during your transactions can be confusing and no one seems to want to explain them to the lay person. Well, not any more. One of the most mystifying terms used is ‘Conveyancing’. This is a ‘catch-all’ phrase that is used to refer to the legal process that goes on from your offer being accepted to you buying the house.

Generally this includes such things as:

  • Providing legal advice
  • Drawing up and assisting contracts
  • Dealing with Land registry
  • Managing all the searches that need to be done
  • Stamp duty changes and payments
  • Collecting and transferring money during the house sale

Solicitors generally can do the work but often they are not specialist. We’d recommend finding a specialist conveyance Solicitor or a licensed conveyance. They will have the necessary qualifications and experience to make the process as smooth and as painless as possible. Don’t feel like you have to use your estate agents preferred conveyancing firm – there is no real benefit to you as they all do the same job, the estate agent probably collects a referral fee.

When instructing your conveyancing professional or firm, make sure that they can meet your target exchange and completion dates. Ask them to explain their time plan to you and don’t be afraid of asking questions. A lot of legal jargon can be intimidating but asking questions will help you be better informed. Questions like – do they conduct the pre-sale questionnaires and get them done before they start the searches etc or will they run them alongside each other.

Make sure you ask them to explain how quickly they’ll start the searches, how long it takes to get searches done and which searches they recommend. Also ask them how they interact with your mortgage company and if they are able to act for them as well – this will eradicate a number of other fees.

It’s also worth asking if a ‘no sale, no fee’ package is offered or a “fixed fee”. If they want to charge a % of the value of the house, you should try to negotiate – it takes the same amount of time to do the searches and legal contracts for a £400,000 as it does for a £1,000,000 property. Ask them to explain why they charge what they do and hopefully it will sound reasonable (remember they are highly qualified and have spent years in training and gaining experience). Whatever your fee structure is, just make sure that all potential costs are highlighted before you instruct them.

It is advisable to not base your choice purely around price – quite often you get what you pay for so going for the cheapest could prove a costly mistake.

Make sure you have a dedicated case handler so you don’t have to keep explaining yourself and ask if they have any holidays booked so you understand their time frames as well as you explaining yours. There’s nothing worse than not being able to exchange because a solicitor is on holiday! Communication is key so set the precedent early in the relationship.

Also, do not feel like you must use a local firm (although I prefer to do so) – you need someone efficient who stays in touch keeping all costs transparent from the start.

Dealing with solicitors, surveyors, estate agents when you’re selling and buying is a bit of a juggling act. If you’re already busy at work, The Homemover Specialist can work on your behalf to manage the Conveyance process, keeping you up-to-date with developments every step of the way.

Call us to find out more on 01483 255895 or email us on hello@thehomemover.co.uk.

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