If you’re thinking about buying or selling a property, a professional conveyancing solicitor is your go-to. A good conveyancer will guide you through the legal requirements and ensure your paperwork is filed on time.
Today we welcome to our blog Julie Powell, a conveyancing solicitor from our partner Beaumont Legal. She explains her role, shares what a day in the busy Wakefield office looks like, and answers questions you may have always wondered about.
What is the main role of a conveyancing solicitor?
A conveyancing solicitor plays an essential role in any property transaction, their main job being to protect their client’s interests at all stages of the process.
Amongst other things, duties briefly include:
On a purchase:
Checking the legal title and contract documentation and raising enquiries, carrying out searches and reporting the results to the client. Checking mortgage offers, providing a detailed report to the client on the property being purchased, liaising with mortgage lenders (to ensure funds will be available when needed), estate agents and seller’s solicitors.
We also advise on additional costs such as Stamp Duty and leasehold notice fees, exchange contracts and deal with completion and arrange for the client (and their lender) to be registered at the Land Registry following completion.
On a sale:
Obtaining copies of the title deeds to the property and drawing up draft contracts to send to the buyer’s solicitors, plus dealing with any enquiries raised by them. If a mortgage is being paid off, a redemption statement will be applied for from the lender. If the property is leasehold, separate enquiries will need to be sent to the landlord/freeholder and then replies reviewed and forwarded to the buyer’s solicitor.
Again, there will be a lot of liaising with estate agents, lenders and the buyer’s solicitor. I’ll also work on exchanging contracts and linking this in to any related purchase and dealing with completion formalities, for example, ensuring the signed transfer deed and any original title deeds or documents are sent to the buyer’s solicitor on completion.
What complications could be involved if I attempted to do my own conveyancing?
Although it is possible to carry out your own conveyancing, it’s not something I would recommend. Conveyancing can be a much more complicated process than people think and requires legal expertise.
Lack of experience might easily lead to a poor deal being struck with you and the other party’s legal representatives or leave you open to court action if you make a mistake.
What does a typical day in the life of a conveyancing solicitor look like?
A typical day for me at the office starts with a strong black coffee, before switching the computer on and delving into the various emails received overnight. These will usually be from clients or estate agents, or the solicitor you have been chasing to exchange contracts with for the last few weeks may have emailed to say they are ready.
Advances in technology and the widespread use of email has brought efficiencies, but also created more pressure for conveyancers to be available 24/7 and ready to push transactions through, sometimes at a moment’s notice.
During the day, the case handlers on the team will be dealing with their own emails and post, drafting sale contracts, checking search results and mortgage offers, exchanging contracts, setting files up for completion, answering a large amount of phone calls and making sure clients are updated on what is going on.
There’s a variety of searches involved with the conveyancing process. What are some of the key searches that a conveyancer carries out?
Searches are enquiries submitted to various authorities on your behalf, such as local councils, The Environment Agency and water and coal authorities, the results of which will provide you with more information about the property you are buying. Mortgage lenders also require that searches are carried out as they want to be certain that nothing will be revealed that will affect the value of the property.
The most common searches are:
This search will provide crucial information such as whether the road serving the property is adopted, it will provide information on planning applications relevant to the property (granted or refused), building control history, any enforcement action, nearby road schemes, radon gas information and restrictions on permitted development.
This search will reveal if the property is connected to mains water and drainage, whether the sewers are adopted and also the location of the public water mains.
This search is also important as it reveals if there are any public sewers within the boundary or nearby, which could affect future development or building work.
This search will identify risks such as flooding, subsidence, landslides, landfill and potentially contaminated sites.
This search is only required for properties located within a coal mining area (or former coal mining area) and will reveal if there are any mine entries within 20m of the property, other coal mining hazards/subsidence claims reported in the area and if there are any plans for future coal mining in the area.
At what stage in the buying/selling process should I contact a conveyancer?
You should appoint a solicitor as soon as you consider selling or buying a property. You can start to look for a solicitor even before you have made an offer on a house or someone has made you an offer.
This can help speed up the whole process. Often there can be unnecessary delays at the beginning of a transaction just because solicitors haven’t been formally instructed. It’s much better to get your chosen solicitors on board as early as possible.
What kind of support can a conveyancer give me throughout the process?
A good conveyancing solicitor handles all the legal aspects of buying and selling a property for you, will keep you regularly updated and can really support you in what can be a very worrying process.
Buying or selling a house is said to be one of the most stressful times of your life; until contracts are exchanged, either party can pull out and there are often unforeseen setbacks which delay things. We will make the whole process a little less stressful by keeping you in the loop and making sure you understand exactly what is going on. We have a great team here with many years of experience and are committed to providing you with an excellent level of customer care.
If you’d like to speak to a Beaumont Legal conveyancing solicitor, please feel free to get in touch.