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Conveyancing in your area Q & A's

Profile photo of Lorraine Imhoff

By Lorraine Imhoff

Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 20/05/18

Successful conveyancing is as much about having a rounded understanding of the practicalities involved in buying and selling a property as it is about a thorough command of the legal process.

Below we feature some recent common questions asked by home movers.

Q.

We need a discount conveyancing quote. How do I get a quote?

A.

The lack of clarity surrounding this point catches out many buyers, and can leave them paying far more in conveyancing fees than they budgeted. Many firms promote 'the cheapest conveyancing quotes'. Unfortunately additional costs are often hiding in small print. Any costs needs to be fair and only come into force where your lawyer must perform additional tasks for you, which could not be anticipated at the start of the process. Get a quote using the Homeward Legal quote calculator for the property you are buying.

Q.

We are taking out a mortgage with the Royal Bank of Scotland, what do I need to check?

A.

Recently, a number of lenders have reduced the number of firms on their approved panel, potentially creating higher conveyancing costs for buyers. We, however, can act on behalf of most mortgage lenders.

Q.

As a result of the worrying amount of flooding in the UK in April 2012 we are concerned that conveyancing and environmental searches might not be sufficient?

A.

Conveyancing searches applied for by the UK conveyancer should also include a far more detailed search (Landmark) if required.

If you are still nervous you could contact a local resident.

Q.

What are conveyancing searches in relation to?

A.

Conveyancing searches are a commonly-used bundle of queries carried out for the buyer. Buyers should be aware that, searches cover solely legal-related matters.

Q.

Is it imprudent to take care of the legal conveyancing process without help.

A.

There is no reason why a seller shouldn't carry out the conveyancing on your own. In reality however, a solicitor takes care of a huge number of exercises such as chasing missing documents or interpreting management accounts some of which require a skilled professional.

In addition legal practices will take out insurance cover that protects you in the event of any failures on the part of the solicitor.

Q.

If we plan to buy in a local parish, will it be necessary to get a chancel search?

A.

Wherever you are buying in the UK, the solicitor instructed to handle the transaction might recommend that a chancel search be ordered. In some areas of the UK, chancel repair may be apportioned on new owners of a property where Parochial Church Councils have not imposed the same liability on the last owners. It is not safe to rely on the historical behaviour of the parish council alone as a guide.

Q.

What is gazumping?

A.

Gazumping occurs when a property seller acknowledges an offer, then dismisses it, choosing instead a greater offer.

Though being gazumped is uncommon when property prices are falling, there is still a chance. Instructing a law firm early should help to mitigate this risk.

'Gazundering' is effectively the opposite of Gazumping and is not uncommon in the market once again. Gazundering is when a buyer reduces their offer at the contract negotiation phase usually during the conveyancing process

Q.

Conveyancers in the UK apply for official searches if instructed by a purchase client - which particular searches?

A.

If you are obtaining a mortgage, your lender will mandate a solicitor to get obtain a Local Authority Search (possibly an official search although some accept personal searches), an environmental search:, and perhaps specific local searches, like a Coal and Brine.

Q.

Is top-soil in the UK contaminated by lead?

A.

Effort is made on a local and national level to remediate top-soil contamination. Land may also be contaminated by other sources, including groundwater contaminants like household chemicals and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs).

Q.

Is your solicitor team geared up for move fast on the conveyancing for property auction properties in UK?

A.

In fact we prepare legal packs for vendors and often work for buyers and sellers at auction. Solicitors tend to encourage bidders to decide on a lawyer before the property auction date to allow enough time for a detailed report.

Following the date of the auction, your conveyancing lawyer will be focused on conclude the auction conveyancing process in less than 28 days as required by the terms of sale.

Q.

Why does conveyancing take so long

A.

Understandably, the first thing you want to know is a moving date. Even if you are not in a hurry, you ideally want a firm date to help you plan the move.

So this is a very common question and unfortunately a difficult one to answer at the outset of a transaction.

On average conveyancing takes around 2 months. However working closely with the right solicitor can dramatically speed things up. Although you are often at the mercy of the slowest link in the moving chain, a proactive solicitor will identify where these slow moving parties are and push them along.

The key thing you can do, as a buyer or seller, is to complete all of the necessary protocol forms as quickly as possible, make sure finance and survey formalities occur as early on as possible (lenders can really slow the process down) and help your solicitor respond to any questions raised by your buyer as quickly as you can.

Many solicitors would address this question by listing elements of the conveyancing process such as search and lender delays, as well as the sheer amount of work involved as reasons that protract the process.

In reality, many of these delays issues are foreseeable in as much as they occur all the time and a forward thinking lawyer will attack these issues early on.

If we were asked to give one tip that can save the process dragging on interminably it would be for leaseholders. If you are selling a leasehold property, apply to the Managing Agent for the Management Information Pack as soon as you start to market the property as some agents take weeks or even months to produce this.

Q.

To complete on our purchase as soon as possible, how can we ensure we get a fast conveyancing service?

A.

The key to faster conveyancing is to instruct a proactive, communicative property lawyer. However, there are several things you, as the purchaser, can also do to get moving sooner. These including, asking for property searches to be ordered immediately, responding to your property lawyer by phone, fax or email wherever possible and getting your mortgage offer in place.