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The Conveyancing Process – Part I

by Sarah Halloran

It’s only when you start the process of selling or buying a home that you realise what a long and drawn out process it all is.  Even if you are a first time buyer with no chain ahead of you the legal red tape can really slow things down.  How well the legal process runs and at what rate will often depend on the firm of conveyancing solicitors you choose.  Choose a poor quality team and you could be waiting around for weeks or even months for just the initial phases of conveyancing to be completed.

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Choosing a Good Firm

Finding a good firm of solicitors should be high up on your list when you want to buy, sell or indeed both!   Your estate agent may well have recommended a company to you and this is sometimes the safest bet.  If the estate agent has built up a good working relationship with a conveyancing company it can often mean things get done at a much faster rate.  Even so, you will still want to make sure you are getting a good deal so now is the time to obtain some quotes from a number of conveyancing firms.  You should be provided with a fixed quote from each giving you details of legal fees, stamp duty charges and disbursements.

Disbursements?  What Are They?

Disbursements are the fees paid by your solicitor to third parties, e.g. Local Authority land searches.  In order to start proceedings you will need to pay a small deposit and this is often non-refundable.  However, some solicitors may have a ‘No move – no fee’ offer although you may need to pay higher fees for this level of service.

Establishing Lines of Communication

If you have any questions for your solicitor before the conveyancing process begins it’s best to ask these before you pay any money upfront.  This will ensure you are completely clear about the whole process before you part with any of your hard-earned cash.  After all, buying or selling a property is not cheap and you’ll want to know what you are getting for your money.  The main complaint when it comes to the conveyancing process is lack of communication.  It’s true that weeks can pass without any word from your solicitor and this can often be frustrating.  Ask your conveyancing solicitor how easy it is to get in touch with them if you suddenly find you have a problem or a query for them.

Property transactions can be unpredictable.  Buyers can pull out at any time and sellers can withdraw their acceptance of your offer.  Whilst there is little you can do to prevent these problems there are other issues that a conveyancing solicitor can assist with.

And so the Form Filling Begins…

You’ll be amazed at just how much paperwork you need to complete especially for a house sale.  Everything needs to be filled in completely, signed and countersigned, but this is all part of the process and is designed to cover everyone in the event of problems or disputes.  The forms you need to complete will depend largely on your situation and whether you are buying outright, buying with a mortgage or buying to let.  You’ll get various forms to look over during the course of conveyancing and returning them in a timely manner will ensure you are doing all you can to speed the process along.

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Look out for ‘The Conveyancing Process – Part 2’ next week!  It might not have a nail-biting ending, but it might give you a little useful information!

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