26 Nov

DIY

Much has been said about whether you need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer when you are selling or buying your home or if you can go for DIY conveyancing.

You may think legal fees are high, often in excess of £1,000, and that the process is only about form filling.

Here’s the facts.

You are permitted to carry out the conveyancing for buying or selling property on your own.

However – and it’s a big however – it’s vital that you know precisely what can go wrong if you do decide to go it alone.

The purchase of your home is likely to be most expensive thing you ever buy. So, it’s essential you ensure nothing goes wrong. It is especially important to ensure all the legal work is done properly in advance so you don’t live to regret your DIY conveyancing.

What does a conveyancer or solicitor do?

For conveyancing where you are buying a home, a conveyancing solicitor will carry out searches of your property and make formal enquiries with the other side’s solicitor.

This is a crucial step in the process. When the enquiries are not done thoroughly, it can have disastrous consequences.

Some enquiries may be trivial, such as where you can park your car. Others are much more vital, such as is the lease attached to the property about to expire or has the seller not revealed that they don’t have the right to sell the place.

What’s involved in sale conveyancing?

During sale conveyancing, your solicitor will obtain your title deeds and help you complete the property information forms – these detail exactly what’s included or excluded from the sale.

Your sale solicitor will draft the sale contract and send this to the buyer’s solicitor. He or she will also liaise with the management company if the property is leasehold.

All solicitors on the Homeward Legal nationwide panel are also on the approved lenders’ panel. That will allow your sale solicitor to liaise with the lender to get a settlement figure for your mortgage and for any loans secured on the property.

Liaising with the other side

A crucial element in conveyancing is agreeing on a moving date and a date on which the contracts will be exchanged.

Your solicitor will do that, while also requesting and holding on to the deposit from the buyer’s solicitor.

Once contracts are exchanged, your sale solicitor will approve the transfer of title deed to be sent to the Land Registry. They will pay off your mortgage and send confirmation of that to the Land Registry, too.

Finally, they will deal with any outstanding paperwork related to the sale, ensuring the property deeds are passed to the buyer’s solicitor.

Engage a professional

While it’s obviously not impossible to do DIY conveyancing, you can see that this is not a simple task. As with most legal work, it’s always better to ask a professional.

In fact, depending on the type of property you are buying or selling, the owner might insist that you use a conveyancing solicitor. For example, buying a leasehold property is more complex than buying freehold. This is because a third party owns the freehold.

For a property with a mortgage or a loan secured on it, the buying solicitor needs a legal undertaking that the seller will pay them off using the sale proceeds.

However, only solicitors can make that undertaking to each other. In such cases, a lender is likely to demand both sides use a conveyancing solicitor to complete the sale.

Are there other obstacles to going it alone?

To prevent fraud, conveyancing solicitors must confirm the identity of a buyer and seller. If you decide to do your own conveyancing, you might struggle to verify the identity of the other party.

And if something does go wrong in conveyancing, buyers and sellers who use a solicitor are protected by their law firms’ professional indemnity insurance.

If there’s a problem, could you deal with being sued? Could you find the cash to sue the other side if the mistake is theirs?

Better to be safe than sorry! Talk to Homeward Legal to get a conveyancing professional on your side from the start.

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