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What is Conveyancing?
Legally, Conveyancing means the transfer of the legal title of a property from one person to another. Mortgage lenders will usually insist that any conveyancer is on the lender’s panel of approved Conveyancers and works on behalf of the clients.
Your estate agent may recommend a conveyancer but, otherwise, people tend to ask their mortgage broker.
There are many reasons why you may appoint a Conveyancing expert. You may be purchasing a new home or changing mortgage lenders, in which case you will need a conveyancer to handle the legalities on the purchase, sale or remortgage of the property.
Whoever you choose, they will handle the same basic requirements but, as in any industry, some will be a safer bet than others.
What is a Licensed Conveyancer?
A Licensed Conveyancer is authorised to practice, holding a license issued by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers and specialises in Property transactions.
What are the advantages of visiting a Conveyancing comparison website?
There are many advantages
using a Conveyancing comparison website prior to finalising your choice of conveyancer. You can select by area, by price, by expertise, by recommendation, and then you’ve got everyone in the same place so it’s quick and easy to ask the questions that you need to in order to finalise your choice of conveyancer and approach them directly for a quote.
What questions should I ask?
We recommend that you ask the following questions when seeking to select a Conveyancing expert to do your Conveyancing work for you, these should include the following but are not limited to the following and you are free to ask as many questions as you like until you are completely satisfied you’ve made the right choice for you.
How do Conveyancers work?
A Conveyancing expert, like any transaction undertaken on behalf of a client by a professional in a similar occupation such as a solicitor, will work on either a fixed fee or an estimate where the final bill may vary depending on how much work has been involved in the transaction; this should all be itemised for you as the client so that you know exactly what charges have been applied and where.
What does it mean when a Conveyancer says they will work on a “No sale, no fee” basis?
That is, if the purchase does not go ahead, you are not charged for any fees.
Is the quoted fee a fixed fee or an estimated fee?
Be clear on what contract you have signed so that the fees you are charged are roughly what you expected in the first place. A house move is one of the most expensive purchases a person makes during their lifetime and it is very important to be able to budget the associated costs during any purchase.
If the latter by what percentage would you normally expect it to go up or down?
Ask the conveyancer for a guide on final charges so that you can budget your expenses accurately. This may make all the difference when working out the final fees to be paid to your mortgage lender, leaving you much needed spare cash for sundry expenses to spend on your new home.
What is the total cost of the fees expected to be, including stamp duty and VAT?
Remember that any fees quoted may be quoted ex (without) VAT or inclusive of VAT, make sure you know whether or not VAT has been included as it will make a 20% difference to your final bill.
Who will be my principal point of contact?
Make sure that the person you are speaking to is the person who will be acting on your behalf and, if not, ask who exactly will be handling your transaction and ask to be introduced to your conveyancer, by phone or Skype. Clear communication can make all the difference to whether or not a house purchase goes smoothly or not as there are several steps along the way that involve more than one party.
How regularly can I expect updates from my conveyancer and will I hear from them by post, by phone, by email or a mixture of all three?
Understanding how parties are going to communicate is important. If you are waiting for an email and have planned around hearing the response, yet a letter arrives a few days later instead, it may hold up other elements that you’d like to be getting on with so being clear about how and when you can expect to receive vital information will help you plan the process more smoothly.
How long does the Conveyancing process normally take?
When you come onto this, you should expect your Conveyancing expert to run through the steps involved when you undertake to buy a property and how long you can reasonably expect it to take. This will enable you to plan all the other items accordingly such as arranging packers and movers, organising new schools for the children, or finding out when you have to move out of your current property and move into you new one. If monthly rent or mortgage payments are due, careful planning may end up saving you considerable sums of money that you can then reinvest in your new home.
Is it all done online?
Yes, all Conveyancing work is carried out online via our website and email communication, or telephone and post, saving you time and money and making savings which we pass directly on to you.
Will I need to pay any fees on appointment of my conveyancer?
Our conveyancer will need to commission standard reports such as Local Authority searches for which a charge is made by the Local Authority. In order to commission the report, the Conveyancer will ask for a sum of money called disbursements’ which are held in a client account and cannot be touched for any other purpose except to discharge the costs associated with any statutory reports required for the purchase of your new property. Land searches, planning permissions, copies of Title Deeds, and Stamp Duty fees all fall into this category.
Why does a bankruptcy search take place?
The mortgage lender will conduct a bankruptcy search against the prospective purchasers of a property if they request a mortgage; this will cover any possible current proceedings, or recent proceedings filed in previous years. The purchaser’s Conveyancing expert will also carry out a similar check on the vendors of the property to make sure there are no charges over the property which may prohibit the vendor from selling.
Why do I need to do a bank transfer fee?
A bank transfer fee allows large sums of money to be transferred the same day. This will be required on the day of completion. The buyer sends the money to the solicitor or conveyancer who will then hold it in the client account and transfer to the vendor (seller’s) solicitor on the due date. There are various different types of bank transfer such as BACs (3 day) or CHAPS (same day) and bank fees will vary in line with the different type of service required to be used. You should check with your bank and your Conveyancing expert which method will be required and how much the fees are for that service so you are clear about the costs to be incurred. There is not really any way round it though as timing is so critical on the day of completion, and so it’s really a question of knowing the fees so you can budget.
What are Office copies?
Office copies are obtained from the Land Registry and include the Register of the property in question detailing information on all parties that have a registered interest in the property; any charges that have been registered against the property such as second loans or re-mortgages or secured loans. This information if particularly important as it details the names of the people whose consent is required in order for the property to be allowed to be sold.
What is a Local Search and why is it necessary?
A local search will be instigated by your conveyancer, who may use a personal search agency or an online search provider. A local search asks the local authority in whose district the property is located if there are any issues relating directly to the property such as proposed developments, compulsory purchases or road-widening schemes etc which may affect the property itself or its valuation.
Local search indemnity insurance - do I need it?
This is used in a mortgage where a full local authority search is not carried out as it protects the mortgage lender against any possible future financial loss.
What is an environmental search?
Toxic waste, flooding, pollution, landfill and coal mining are just some of the environmental factors that may affect your property to be purchased and if so, you will be advised by your conveyancer accordingly as to whether you need an environmental search depending on the location of your property.
What is a water and drainage search?
Your conveyancer will check that the property is connected to mains drainage and the water supply and check if there are any issues relating to such matters. For example, it can be very expensive to connect a property to mains electricity and as such you may be able to go back and renegotiate the price of the property if this was something you were not made aware of when you put an offer in on the property.
When would a coal and brine mining search be conducted?
This would be conducted if the property is located in any area in the UK where mining operations have been carried out either in the past or where a coal mine is still active. Brine searches are mostly conducted in Cheshire, the main area of the UK most affected.
When would a tin mining search be carried out?
If the property is located in the South West, mainly Devon and Somerset but particularly Cornwall, then a tin mining search would be carried out to check if the property is built over an old tin mine shaft which could cause subsidence.
What’s the difference between Leasehold and Freehold?
A leasehold property means the owner is entitled to live in the property for a certain number of years. A leasehold property is common
in flats and apartments where the building comprises several units. The longer the lease the higher the price of the property is the rule of thumb. If purchasing a leasehold property you should also consider the associated costs of ground rent, service charges and maintenance for the upkeep of external areas such as the grounds.
What is a lease?
A Lease document will outline any factors concerning the property such as rent, service charges and ground rent, rights of way, etc and will usually include a plan marking the property.
What is a mortgage deed?
A mortgage deed is registered as a financial charge over the property and is held at the Land Registry, shown in the Charges Register. It is the document that is signed once the mortgage offer is accepted and completed by the mortgagee agreeing the terms of the offer.
Why do I have to pay Stamp Duty?
Stamp Duty is a tax levied by the Government on the purchase of any property. The amount of Stamp Duty paid will vary according to the value of the property and it also changes in the Budget in line with the then current Government’s views on taxes and the state of the economy. It is payable by the purchaser as a percentage of the purchase price.
What is a Land Registry fee?
Any change to the Title Deed of a property must be lodged with the Land Registry who will charge a fee to process the change of ownership details recorded on the Title Deed.