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19th April 2021

Why do I need a conveyancing solicitor

If you are planning to buy or sell a property, having a professional conveyancing solicitor to help you navigate the complex legal process is essential.

An effective conveyancing solicitor will make sure all your paperwork is completed in an accurate and timely manner, as well as providing you with support and advice to help ease the process along the way.

Why you need a conveyancing solicitor

What are the main tasks a conveyancing solicitor will carry out?

A conveyancing solicitor will fight on your behalf throughout the entire process of buying or selling a property, usually by making sure your interests will not be damaged. For example, preventing you from being taken advantage of in misleading paperwork or having inaccurate information about the condition and surroundings of the property being discussed.

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Some tasks and duties a conveyancing solicitor will fulfil for you are:

When handling a purchase

  • Checking the legal title for the property and any contraction documentation, then raising any enquiries as a result of this.
  • Initiating a variety of searches regarding the property and it’s area, then providing the results (discussed in more detail later).
  • Presenting a detail report on the condition and terms of the property being purchased.
  • Checking mortgage offers and speaking to the mortgage lenders, seller’s solicitors and estate agents to ensure the necessary funds will be available when required.
  • A conveyancing solicitor may also offer advice on extra costs you might incur, such as leasehold notice fees or Stamp Duty.
  • Other administrative tasks such as exchanging contracts, sorting out the completion date and arranging for you and your lender to be registered at HM Land Registery once completion has occurred.

When handling a sale

  • Obtaining copies of the property title deeds.
  • Drawing up draft contracts and sending them to the buyer’s solicitors, and then resolving and enquiries that are raised after this occurs.
  • If you are paying off your mortgage with the proceeds of the sale, your conveyancing solicitor will apply to your mortgage lender for a redemption statement. For more information on what this is, read our article ‘What is a redemption statement’ (add link here).
  • Make separate enquiries to the landlord or freeholder, if the property is a leasehold. All communications will be reviewed and sent on to the buyer’s solicitor.
  • Lots of talking to the different parties involved such as lenders, estate agents and the buyer’s solicitors.
  • Working out the exchange of contracts and clearing up any completion formalities and documentation, such as making sure the signed transfer deed and the original title deeds or documents are forwarded to the buyer’s solicitor when completion occurs.
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What could go wrong if I try to handle the conveyancing process without using a conveyancing solicitor?

While it is possible to carry out your own conveyancing, it is not recommended. The conveyancing process is a complicated series of events, dates and documents that require legal knowledge and skills to ensure everything is completed correctly and on time. If you lack the necessary abilities and understanding, you may end up being on the receiving end of an unfavourable deal. You may also make some mistakes that could result in legal action from the other parties or their legal representatives, if extra costs or a failed sale are the end result of these mistakes. So to keep yourself out of legal trouble, bring in an expert in the shape of a conveyancing solicitor.

What is day to day life like for a conveyancing solicitor?

A conveyancing solicitor handles numerous phone calls, emails and documents from buyers, sellers, estate agents and other conveyancing solicitors. They will be drafting contracts, doing research for searches and mortgage offers, arranging for contracts to be exchanged and getting everything ready for completion to take place. The increased used of technology such as email has made the conveyancing process significantly faster than in the past, but also increased the pressure on conveyancing solicitors to be available to their clients all day, every day.

Your conveyancing solicitor will carry out a number of different searches for information

These are some of the most important searches your conveyancer will do for you:

Local search – this will provide a variety of crucial information about the property and the area surrounding it. For example, any planning permission that has been granted or refused in the past, or any other regulation and control issues that could alter what you can do with the property. Regional details such as road building schemes and details on what development is permitted will also be included.

Environmental search – this gives you information about environmental factors that may impact on the property, by identifying any risks from events such as flooding, subsidence, landslides, landfill or contamination.

Drainage search – this is to check that the property is properly connected to the mains water, sewers and drainage. Further details will be provided if there are any public sewers within the boundary of the property, or neighbouring it, as this could have implications for any building work or development you decide to do in the future.

Coal search – this is a very particular type of search, and will only be carried out if your property is located with a coal mining area, or former coal mining area. It will tell you if there are any mine entries within 20m of the property, or if there has been any mining hazards of subsidence claims made in the area. Any future plans for coal mining will also be included.

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During which stage of buying or selling a property should I involve a conveyancer?

You should look to appoint a conveyancing solicitor as soon as you start planning on either buying or selling a property. Ideally, you will begin this process before you have even made an offer on a property, or received one for a property you are trying to sell.

By appointing a conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible, you will remove some stress from the process. It is common for delays to occur as solicitors have not been formally appointed and got to work, so the earlier you can enact this process the better.

What other support will my conveyancer give me during the conveyancing process?

Your conveyancer will submit a variety of enquiries, known as searches, to the relevant authorities, such as local councils, the water authorities and the Environment Agency. The results of these searches will provide you with a large amount of essential information about the property you are intending to buy.

These are some characteristics of a conveyancer that is providing good support during a notoriously difficult process:

  • They will handle all the legal details of buying or selling a property on your behalf
  • They communicate regularly and clearly with you to ensure you are up to date on the process
  • They will make sure you understand exactly what is happening and what needs to be done next
  • Provide reassurance and support throughout the whole process, which can be stressful due to delays or parties withdrawing from agreements

Overall, to make the conveyancing process as stress-free and effective as possible, make sure you have a good conveyancing solicitor working on your behalf.

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