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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: 14/02/18

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.

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.

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.

Would getting a house survey be advisable if we are purchasing a property?

A.

It is firmly advised that all purchasers in the UK book an inspection. There are a range of defects that can affect a property. These can include cracked roof tiles. These will not be reported on by a solicitor.

Q.

How can I find out what local authority my new home is in?

A.

During the course of the conveyancing transaction your solicitor will make a number of enquiries of the local authority. These enquiries are known as 'searches' and their findings will be reported back

to you in the 'Report on Title'. Prior to submitting searches your solicitor will identify the correct local authority.

You may wish to identify the relevant authority in advance however, as it will have a bearing on things like council tax, local services and so on. Visit the Government website https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council which can identify the relevant authority from a postcode.

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.

Which environmental factors will affect land in the UK. Are they an issue?

A.

Many of contaminants can impact residential property in the UK. Contaminants including proposed erection of mobile masts will be considered as part of the environmental searches.

Q.

I am buying a property in a disadvantaged area. Can I still claim Stamp Duty Relief?

A.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Relief was available for buyers of residential and mixed use residential property between 1st January 2010 and 5th April 2013 on property being sold for less than or equal to £150k Sadly the government abolished SDLT relied on 5/04 13 and there are currently no plans to reintroduce it. For more information see the HMRC website Update: As of the 2013/14 tax year, stamp duty relief for disadvantaged areas is no longer available.

Q.

The owner looks to have fitted cladding on the property in the UK which might possibly infringe local conservation area criteria

A.

Your instructed conveyancing solicitor to check if the property is located within a conservation area, and if so, whether any alterations have appropriate consents from the local authority.

In the absence of any consents, your solicitor will advise you of the alternatives which include getting retrospective permission from the planning authority or indemnity insurance.

Q.

When should I book the removal company?

A.

Many people are tempted to leave this until the last minute for the understandable reason that they may not be absolutely sure of their completion date. They may even be 'jittery' about whether completion is going to happen at all. As some removals companies charge a non refundable deposit or cancellation fee, home movers are often tempted to leave this to the last minute.

However, movers can end up in with difficulties finding an available removals company at the last minute and may end up spending more money due to having less choice.

Best advice is to identify a company early, negotiate a best price and ensure that there is no cancellation fee or, at the very least, this fee is not applicable with reasonable cancellation notice.

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.

How early do we need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor in the UK?

A.

Whether you are buying or selling in the UK, earlier is preferable, as the legal work can start very early in the process. Promptly instructing a solicitor for your UK transaction can reduce any chance of the other side pulling out.