When I started in conveyancing over 33 years ago, a month was the norm, now a week is all most clients can expect, sometimes just a few days gap.
I am always amazed at how our Conveyancing clients manage to do so much in between exchange of contracts and completion(moving) day.
But, with all this speed comes a new danger: redirection of funds fraud.
Progress, Conveyancing Chains, Pressure.
Back in the day, we Conveyancing Solicitors happily awaited a mortgage cheque from the Lender which we then “cleared” through our Bank in a gentile four or five day period. We also asked our clients for any balance of monies to be sent in the same way.
Now, the Lenders transmit the Mortgage Funds to us instantly.
A Conveyancing Chain is only complete when the last person in the chain is ready to proceed so once this happens the pressure is on to complete the sale or purchase as soon as possible.
Some parties in the Conveyancing Chain will have been more or less ready for some time others will only know once e.g. their mortgage offer has been received.
So, if you can get ahead of the game, you can do much to gear yourself up for the “all systems go” signal from your Conveyancing Solicitor.
But, we should alert you to an important wealth warning
Redirection of Funds Fraud
More haste less speed.
Especially, when the new threat of online fraudsters is concerned.
This new scam occurs when the hacker hacks into a client’s computer via malware and monitors their email communications.
The malware lies dormant until certain keywords are used in correspondence.
Keywords can include requests for funds from Conveyancers, a deposit to buy a house , completion monies or a balance required to complete.
Then the scammers make their move.
They hack into the email account and contact the client disguised as the solicitor’s firm.
The scammers inform the client that the Conveyancing firm’s bank account details have changed and give details of the “new” account for the deposit or balancing funds to be sent.
Unknowingly, the client transfers their money to the “new” false account.
Thus, helping the fraudster to run away with the deposit money that can be many thousands of pounds.
Exchange of Contracts Checklist
To make it easier for you to get all your Ducks in a Row here is a checklist for as stress-free and smooth as possible move on your Big Day:
This falls into the category of people to ring and best avoided at the last minute – in case you can’t get through. The Sellers will have supplied details in the Property Information Form so you know who to contact to continue or change supplier.
When you are selling it is advisable to take meter readings on the day you leave to avoid any later disputes.
Don’t forget to let the TV Licensing, Post Office, Debit and Credit Card Companies and DVLA know about your change of address. And of course your Doctor, Health Authority, Insurance Companies.
This may be a bit quaint now but cancel the milk and papers
In the vast majority of cases, you will pick up or leave the house keys with the Estate Agent.
The Sellers Solicitor will telephone the Estate Agent when the balance to complete the purchase of the house or flat has been received.
If no Estate Agent is involved your Conveyancing Solicitor will ring you to confirm it is safe to hand over the keys to your buyer or leave the keys behind.
So now you’ve done the things to do and people to call so go and enjoy the places to go and people to see.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated since its original publication in November 2013