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Conveyancing in London Q & A's

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Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 21/04/17

Conveyancing and the London Property Market

At the time of writing (29/05/13), the London property market is continuing to buck the national trend with continued growth in asking prices.

The average price of a house in the capital is reckoned to be over £500,000. Camden, Westminster and Kensington, three of London’s largest Burroughs, have seen increases to the point where an average house will cost in excess of £1m.

As a result, property journalists continue to speculate bout a bubble set to burst, this being a standard headline month in month out for about 10 years. It may well be that a degree of artificiality underpins the market (as a whole) with the government backing lending to the tune of £130bn and along with other schemes such as ‘Help to Buy’.

However, being based in London and having years of intimate knowledge of the market, Homeward Legal’s ears are very close to the ground.

What is clear is that demand massively outstrips supply and current economic turmoil seems to be exacerbating this disparity.

The situation might change rapidly of course, but with over 500 London clients buying a month through Homeward Legal, we can (anecdotally) report continued home buyer bullishness.

Homeward Legal has a national focus with offices throughout the UK. Despite this we frequently advise clients that it is not necessary to visit your solicitor’s offices as the conveyancing process can usually be completed by phone post and email.

The one exception to that is London as the pace of the market and the peculiarities with dealing with local authorities, managing agents and high concentration of leasehold should necessitate choosing a lawyer with local knowledge.  Solicitors based outside London tend not to have enough exposure to the London Market to offer the best and most pragmatic advice.

With our headquarters based in London, Homeward Legal attracts a disproportionate number of London based clients. As a result we have an excellent working knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of buying and selling in London such as leasehold and short leases.


How do we find the cheapest London conveyancing quote?


Both high-street and online solicitors offer theoretically 'the cheapest conveyancing quotes'. However extra fees will be included in the small print. Third party costs, termed disbursements, to be paid ought to be defined on the quote Any costs listed in terms and conditions should be fair and reasonable. Homeward Legal quotes offer a clear statement of your legal fees for a standard conveyancing transaction.


Nationwide is going to be our mortgage lender, Is there anything in particular we need to be aware of?


Recently, a number of lenders have opted to reduce the size of their 'solicitor panel'. This can mean higher legal costs for home buyers. Homeward Legal can act for most mortgage lenders so that you will not be required to pay legal fees for your lender's solicitor.

Al lenders have particular lending criteria and these are subject to constant change. Changing lender requirements are one of the big areas of risk in conveyancing.

Solicitor's introduced by Homeward Legal will check with the CML Lenders Handbook (part II) for any changes at the start of the transaction and again before Exchange. Your conveyancer will notify you of any particular requirements the Nationwide may stipulate.


Is it the case that some London conservation areas are deteriorating because restrictions are not being enforced?


The state of development and maintenance of conservation areas in London is monitored by English Heritage. The following data on trends affecting conservation areas in the capital is available on their website - Kensal Green Cemetery is designated as very bad with low vulnerability and condition improving, St Annes Church is designated as very bad with low vulnerability and condition improving, Stepney Green is designated as very bad with low vulnerability and deteriorating, Balfron Tower is designated as very bad with medium vulnerability and deteriorating, Wiltons Music Hall is designated as poor with low vulnerability and deteriorating, Platts Eyot is designated as poor with medium vulnerability and deteriorating significantly.


Is homewardlegal.co.uk experienced enough to move fast on residential property auction conveyancing in London?


The legal team are familiar with local and national auctions and regularly do the legal work for sellers at auction. Our specialist solicitors and conveyancers have in the past acted for countless bidders at national and local auctions that, amongst others, include Acuitus, Allsop (Commercial), Allsop (Residential), Auction House London, Award Property, Barnett Ross, Baxtons, Brendons Auctioneers, Countrywide Property Auctions and Drivers Norris.

Prudent buyers at auction always choose their chosen lawyer as ahead of time as possible for a thorough review of the auction legal pack well in advance of the day of the auction.

Immediately following the auction day itself your now prepared lawyer is thoroughly able to concentrate on briskly concluding the transaction in the limited time as usually required .


If London land is found to be contaminated, can we have the soil cost-effectively remedied?


If land has been contaminated by previous industrial use, remediation can often be possible. A local provider e.g. Cumberland Turf Centre, Mott St, London, E4 7RW can provide more information.


With recent flooding and the Met Office warning of more intense rainfall in the future, is historical data enough to predict flood risk to a London property?


Flood searches conducted by your solicitor should include a more thorough and informative Landmark flood search, if the risk identified in standard searches is found to be significant.

If you are still concerned, speak to a local resident or regional flood-damage repair specialist for more information, such as Revival Co, 105 Amblecote Rd, London, SE12 9TR Tel: 020 8851 6454.


We need to move in within six weeks - how long will the conveyancing take?


Six weeks is not an impossible time-frame to work to. The average time (estimated) for the conveyancing to complete is around 8 weeks, so 6 weeks is well within the range.

However, there are any number of factors, predictable or not, that can draw out the process. Our advice is to call us so we can assess the specifics, and give you a better idea of whether your preferred time-frame is achievable.

In any event, make sure you instruct a solicitor ASAP and quickly complete and return all forms and paperwork. If you are selling a property, make sure you supply all documentation requested as soon as possible. Finally, choose a solicitor that uses the fastest means of communication available, i.e. email rather than posting letters.


I've had a conveyancing quote from you. May we need to pay any hidden fees?


We never hide any hidden extra fees for any reason. Our quotes offer an single, accurate price.