How to choose a good conveyancer
How to choose a good conveyancer
31st January 2023. The information within was correct at the time of publication but is subject to change.
Buying your first home is an exciting but complex process. It’s essential to have an experienced and reliable conveyancer on your side. But what do they actually do, and how do you decide who to use?
Involving a good conveyancer (also referred to as solicitor) is the best way to make sure everything goes smoothly in the process of the ownership of your home being transferred over from its current owners to you, the new buyer. But how do you know if you’re choosing the right conveyancing solicitor, and what should you look out for?
This page forms part of my wider first time buyer mortgage guide.
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing refers to all legal tasks concerned with the transference of property ownership between two parties when buying or selling a house or flat, or even land. It’s needed to ensure the transaction is legally valid. It can be an intricate process. With a dependable conveyancing solicitor on hand, they will be able to ensure you receive the correct expert legal advice in all matters surrounding buying and selling property, estate planning and equity transfers.
What is the process involved for conveyancing?
Generally speaking, the conveyancing process involves 9 stages. Here’s a breakdown of what the 9-step process will look like after you have appointed a conveyance and given them your basic details.
Stage 1- Your conveyancing solicitor will acquire the contract package through the seller’s solicitor when your bid on the property is accepted. Meanwhile, the bank will assess your mortgage application and arrange a valuation of the property. You can also arrange your own inspection of the property, called a survey.
Stage 2- Your conveyancing solicitor will receive your mortgage offer to review and conduct all relevant local authority searches. A Local Authority Search is basically a query into the local area and land where the property you are hoping to buy resides. This is a vital part of the conveyancing process and will be required by your lender if you are buying a house with a mortgage. This can include anything from the roadways that serve the property, any specialist or listed features like trees or any planning permission that may be in place. Other searches such as drainage and water search and environmental search may also be needed at this stage.
Stage 3- Your conveyancing solicitor will examine the contract package provided by the seller’s solicitor, outcomes of the local authority searches, and the mortgage offer before relaying the necessary details to you. You will consult on completion dates before arranging a date with the seller’s conveyancing provider. Your mortgage provider will be informed of the most suitable completion date. You will then need to examine the information your conveyancing solicitor shares with you making sure to ask any relevant questions before signing the contract and returning it to your provider.
Stage 4 – Your conveyancing solicitor will notify the seller’s solicitor of your desire to move forward with exchanging contracts. You will then need to send the deposit to your conveyancing solicitor.
Stage 5- Your conveyancing solicitor will exchange contracts with the seller’s conveyancing provider. The deposit is then sent to the seller’s conveyancer, and the request for your mortgage funds is made.
Stage 6- Your conveyancing solicitor will create the completion statement and send this to you. They will conduct priority searches and request that you organise building insurance. This is a requirement of almost all mortgage offers.
Stage 7- Your conveyancing solicitor will draft the transfer deed. You will need to examine, sign and return the transfer deed.
Stage 8- Your conveyancing solicitor will send the completed transfer deed to the seller’s conveyancing solicitor and ask your mortgage lender for the finances.
Stage 9- Your conveyancing solicitor will transfer the payment for the property (less the deposit) to the seller’s conveyancer and obtain the title deeds, transfer deeds and evidence that any delinquent mortgages have been redeemed. When the seller’s solicitor advises you to do so, you collect the keys and begin moving in.
Choosing your conveyancing solicitor
The first step is to understand exactly what services you need from your conveyancer. Are you just looking for basic advice on contracts and paperwork? Or do you need more comprehensive legal support? Once you know what services are required, it will be easier to narrow down your list of potential conveyancers but it’s important to choose a trusted solicitor who can provide support with all elements of the process should you need it.
Estate agents, mortgage brokers, and others may suggest using a certain solicitor. Remember it is completely up to you who you use, and anyone saying you should, or even must use a specific firm is not telling you the truth. You can assess their recommendation but you’re the one paying the bill, and you get to decide who to go with.
Look For Experience
Experience is key when it comes to choosing a good conveyancer. Make sure to check out their professional background and qualifications before making a decision. The more experience they have in dealing with residential property transactions, the better chance of success you’ll have. Also, don’t be afraid to do some research on reviews from preview clients or ask them for references surrounding this – this will give you an indication of how well they’ve performed in similar transactions before with people in the same position as you.
Check Their Fees
When selecting a conveyancer, it’s also important to compare fees between different companies and make sure that they are reasonable and competitively priced. Make sure that all fees are fully disclosed up front so that there are no surprises later on in the process. A good conveyancing service should make the process as fully transparent as possible with no hidden fees or surprise bills at the end of the process. Don’t be afraid to ask for a quote upfront and to compare these with the conveyancers on your short list. Common fees left off can be extras for gifted deposits, help to buy ISAs, and we’ve even seen fees of hundreds of pounds missed off for using a mortgage to buy the property.
Finally, don’t forget to ask any questions that may arise during the selection process. This could include queries about their approach to communication or how long they expect each stage of the transaction to take. Asking these questions now can help ensure that everything goes smoothly later on down the line.
Many of my clients have used Manchester based My Law Matters for their conveyancing. They aim to make the law simple and accessible to you and avoid the use of confusing legal jargon that can confuse you unnecessarily. Moving house is stressful enough, so they aspire to make the process as straightforward and smooth as possible. Their conveyancing solicitors are experts in property law and will liaise with you to ensure the delivery of clear and precise updates. For more information, you can contact them here.
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