As a first time buyer, the moving home process can feel daunting; there’s so much to take in and organise in so little time!
Of course, you won’t be doing this all by yourself; this is where your Conveyancing Solicitor comes in.
“Conveyancing” is the legal process that comes with buying a house. Ultimately, it ensures that the legal title is handed over from the seller to the buyer.
However, it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect from your lawyer; what they should be doing and what’s your responsibility.
To get you started, here’s our most recent Slideshare ‘Shiver Me Timbers! Whatever Will My Conveyancer Do Next?’ which outlines the conveyancing process plainly and simply.
How can the process be as smooth as possible?
Firstly, it’s important to choose the right Conveyancer for you.
It can be tempting to take the easy route and go with the conveyancer recommended to you by your estate agent – but beware. Some estate agents are owned by corporates who also own conveyancing firms. Some are paid referral fees by third party intermediaries or Conveyancing Law Firms to refer conveyancing for them. Estate Agents may simply choose the Conveyancer based on how much they pay them rather than who is the most efficient.
There’s nothing worse than being told: “Your call is important to us” and being left on hold for hours. Do your own research and find a Conveyancer willing to go that extra mile to ensure a hassle-free home move. For tips on how to choose your conveyancer, click here.
Another very crucial point to ensure a stress-free move is communication. Simple, yet very effective. Your conveyancer isn’t a mind-reader, so you must tell them if there is something in particular you want them to look into in regards to the property.
For example, if part of the reason why you love the house is because there’s a lovely field round the back, then ensure you tell your conveyancer this so that they can check if there are any building proposals for the land in the future.
Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. We understand that there’s a lot to take in, so ask away! See if your question turns up in our FAQs blog.
Another important tip is to keep your paperwork organised. Keep all documents related to your move in a file so you can find them easily, especially when you’re packing. Ultimately, this will help speed the conveyancing process up.
For some more advice about organising your paperwork for your move; check out this useful blog.
Lastly, we couldn’t recommend this point more: Do NOT exchange and complete on the same day. It will ultimately make the process a lot more stressful than it needs to be. Once you have exchanged contracts, you are in a legally binding agreement to pursue with the house purchase.
However, there’s a lot to be done before ‘The Big Day’ (Completion Day), which is why it’s not a good idea to exchange and complete on the same day.
Our Slideshare ‘How To Get All Your Ducks In A Row Between Exchange and Completion’ gives a you a concise checklist to make the whole process a lot less stressful. Check it out below:
What is your Conveyancer responsible for?
Your conveyancer is responsible for carrying out a variety of checks.
Firstly, they should check that the property has appropriate planning permissions in place and check whether the seller is entitled to sell the property in the first place.
They will then raise enquiries with the seller about various matters such as boundary responsibility.
They will also look into and advise on any restrictive covenants which may affect your experience in your new home.
Lastly, they’ll check on any enduring financial obligations on the property (e.g – service charge on house or flats) and provide advice.
What We Promise to do At Clutton Cox.
Check out our Slideshare, ‘36 Things You Won't Get From Another Conveyancing Law Firm When You Move House’ for information on what we do to go the extra mile to achieve a straight-forward move for our clients.
Surveys: Do I need one?
Our response to this question is always: ‘yes.’
Money will be tight as a first time buyer but not commissioning a survey could well be a false economy.
It is important that you are aware of any issues with the property before you sign the contract. Some problems may be cheap and easy to rectify – others, not so much.
There are a variety of surveys for you to choose from, depending on the type of property you are purchasing. You can read more here.
What Should You Be Doing?
It is up to you to do your own checks on the property. Look for anything that doesn’t show up on the paperwork, such as a shared drive. When looking inside the house, check for obvious problems with the walls, roof and windows and discuss with your surveyor.
There may be other issues that your Conveyancer may not have picked up because they have not visited the property. For example, a bus stop outside or overhead power lines could be a no-go for you, so make sure you consider this.
You should also visit the house at different times of the day. Ask yourself: ‘How busy is it during rush hours?’ and ‘What time does the sun shine on the garden?’
While you’re at it; bring the title plan along and compare it with the property. You will see that the boundary is marked down in red; ensure that this is what you expected to avoid confusion later down the line.
Lastly, discuss fees and disbursements with your lawyer to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
The Legal Ombudsman is known for dealing with complaints, and has published a comprehensive first-time buyers guide to help solve any issues. You can find it here.
If you’re just starting out in the home-moving process, then why not get your free download of our ‘First Bites’ E-Book for top advice.
Happy house hunting!