Purchasing a house is a major transaction with the potential to be as stressful as it is exciting. However, choosing a trusted solicitor can make all the difference to the smooth-running of the conveyancing process.
Why Conveyancing Isn’t Just A Paper Exercise
It is not uncommon for people to believe that when it comes to house purchasing, the legal requirements are little more than a paper exercise that anyone can undertake. That is, until things start to go wrong! For example:
That arises as a result of searches, a qualified solicitor will have the expertise to resolve such issues that could otherwise cause delays or even spoil your purchase.
One of the most frustrating things about buying a house is not being sure of what is happening. If you use an online or bulk conveyancer, they are unlikely to have the time to give you progress updates and when you phone with questions, the likelihood is that you won’t speak to the same person twice. With a dedicated property and conveyancing solicitor, you will have a dedicated professional supporting your purchase and liaising with you every step of the way.
A reputable solicitor will give you a comprehensive and transparent quote for your conveyancing. Beware of quotes that look too good to be true. The likelihood is that extras will be added on, potentially leading to an unexpected final bill.
Blockages and Delays
Your solicitor should actively work to push your transaction to completion, liaising with the vendor’s solicitor, and removing delays and blockages. If your legal adviser is not responsive, your purchase or chain could be jeopardised.
Solicitors Regulation Authority Registered
Choosing a solicitor who is registered with the SRA and has Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation guarantees integrity and the highest standards of professional conduct.
How To Choose A Solicitor?
Your solicitor will look after all the legalities associated with buying your new home. This legal process is known as ‘conveyancing’. Conveyancing is the legal transfer of home ownership from seller to buyer and the whole process begins when the vendor accepts your offer on their property. Once your offer is accepted, it’s time to choose a solicitor. There are a number of things to remember when making this choice:
- Choose a solicitor that you like and trust. Don’t just accept a law firm recommended by the estate agent, as they might be receiving a payment from the firm for referring you to them.
- Check that the quote you receive is comprehensive. Sometimes, unexpected things happen that could result in small additional costs, but a good solicitor will give you a fixed fee quote that is transparent with no hidden extras.
- Make sure your matters will be dealt with by a named individual who you can contact at any time. Being passed from pillar to post is deeply unhelpful during something as important as a property transaction.
What Is The Role Of Your Solicitor When You Buy A House?
Your chosen solicitor will contact the seller’s solicitor to request a copy of the draft contract and supporting documents. They will examine these carefully, raising any questions that they might have. Searches will be ordered next and again any questions raised with the seller’s solicitor. When your mortgage is approved, a copy will be sent to your solicitor for them to review, ensuring terms and conditions are complied with.
Next, you will be invited to sign the contract papers and a completion date will be agreed. Contracts will be exchanged, legally committing you to your purchase and a mortgage advance requested. On completion, your solicitor will send the purchase funds to the seller’s solicitor and the keys will be released to you, completing your purchase.
A Word On Ownership Types
Ownership type is important if you’re purchasing your property with another person, as it can affect what happens if one of the owners dies or a relationship breaks down. There are a number of different property ownership types that you can opt for and the choice can be a little confusing for people:
As joint tenants, you each own the whole of your property. When you sell the property each of you is entitled to half of the proceeds of sale. Should one of you die, the sole survivor automatically inherits the property even if your will says otherwise.
Tenants In Common
As tenants in common, you own a specified percentage of your property (usually 50% each but you can own unequal shares). When you sell the property, you are entitled to a distinct percentage of the proceeds of sale. When you die, your share of the property passes to whoever you have named in your will.
However, you choose to own your home, it is essential that you take steps to protect your investment. You need to consider:
- Who will inherit your property if anything happens to you?
- How can third party contributions to the purchase be protected?
- The implications of inheritance tax and care home fees
- What would happen in the event of divorce?
For trusted advice on any residential property matter, please don’t hesitate to contact our 5-star team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning our Stoke-on-Trent or Altrincham-based solicitors on 01782 205000 or 0161 929 8494.