Once you have agreed to buy a property you will need to employ the services of a solicitor that specialises in conveyancing or a qualified licensed conveyancer. In either event the firm that you instruct must be properly qualified and authorised to act as your representative in the conveyancing process.

A licensed conveyancer or lawyer will act on your behalf to formalise the sale or purchase on your behalf. They will work with you, your mortgage provider, external third parties and the other side’s conveyancer to make sure that all the boxes are ticked and everything is legal.

If you are the buyer the conveyancer’s services will likely include;

1: Agreeing and documenting your mortgage offer and obtaining funds so that the purchase can ‘complete’.

2: Agreeing and documenting the contract terms and making sure that these terms are both lawful and reasonably reflect the offer accepted. He or she will advise on unusual requests made by the other side.

3: Deal with ‘inquiries before contract’ on your behalf

4: Apply for local authority and land registry searches and environmental searches (such as the Coal Board and Environmental Agency).

5: Register your purchase with the Land Registry and arrange for your payment of any Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) due on the purchase.

6: Provide a final completion statement on completion day and transfer your funds on your behalf.

Before you decide on which conveyancer to use here are a few things to check;

  • Are they qualified? They should either be a qualified solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. In many cases law firms use clerks, legal secretaries or licensed conveyancers to do much of the administrative work involved in the buying or selling of land. It is important that the firm you employ belongs to the Law Society or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers, or your mortgage lender is unlikely to allow them to act.
  • Are they local? Conveyancers don’t have to be locally based, as nowadays most of the correspondence is dealt with by telephone or email. A local firm will almost certainly have dealt with similar property nearby in the recent past and they will know more about an area and its specific character than will a firm from outside the area. However it is likely that their fees will be higher so it’s worth shopping around.
  • Are they recommended? Try and source your professionals through personal recommendation, either from friends or from your estate agent or financial advisor. Remember that your representative is employed by you to protect your interests, so take some time choosing who is best to use.
  • What are they charging? Fees can vary and it’s worth getting an indication from more than one firm before you instruct. Most firms will provide a quote based on what work they think is likely to be involved but this can change if complications set in. Try and negotiate a fixed cap to their fees and make sure that you agree what other charges are likely to be incurred on your behalf during the conveyance. It is normal to incur a variety of other costs in addition to your conveyancer’s fees including local search and land registry charges, environmental charges, surveyors costs, arrangement fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and other administrative charges. Remember that they are also likely VAT registered and will charge this at the prevailing rate (currently 20% at the time of writing).
  • Do you get on with them? They don’t need to be your friend, but it is helpful if the relationship you have with your conveyancer is based on mutual respect. After all, you are relying on their advice and you should feel able to ask them for advice.

If you do not have a conveyancer in mind we may be able to provide you with some points of contact to start the ball rolling. Contact us on 01628 507477.

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