Property conveyancing is the legal procedure for buying or selling real estate. It’s also known as conveyancing or property settlement, and it can be complicated. Here are answers to some of your questions about conveyancing.
A lot of people let professional real estate agents do their conveyancing because they hate all the paperwork involved in buying and selling property. But you can save yourself a lot of money by doing it yourself with help from this guide to the ins and outs of conveyancing.
- How long will my transaction take?
Property conveyancing procedures normally take around four to eight weeks to complete (depending upon the case), but there are lots of variables that could delay this process – everything from buyer’s remorse to disputes among siblings who inherit family homes in the absence of living parents.
- What about those surveys I’m always hearing about?
Most conveyancing service solicitors will insist that you conduct a professional property survey and pest inspection to make sure the house doesn’t have any structural problems. If you find out too late that the home has subsidence, or is sitting on contaminated land, your lender won’t complete your loan transfer. This could leave you with an unsaleable property and nobody willing to lend you more money to buy somewhere else. The warning signs of hidden problems often show up in a ‘valuation’ rather than a formal ‘survey’. A valuation is usually much cheaper but it’s only as good as the valuer who does it – so be careful where you get one done and by whom.
- How do I choose a conveyancing solicitor?
The best way to find a good property conveyancing solicitor is through personal recommendation. Ask friends and family if they know anyone who’s done a property transfer recently, and ask them how it went. If you’re getting your conveyance drawn up through a real estate agent, they’ll probably be able to recommend someone too. Alternatively, look for local solicitors on the internet
- What should my solicitor check before he gives me an opinion letter?
Your property conveyancing solicitor will want to inspect the contract of sale as well as any title documents for evidence that both parties have signed properly and that no previous charges exist on the property being sold. Your solicitor must also check the correct form of your contract and make sure that any special conditions on it have been met. Your solicitor should also be able to advise you whether any necessary consents, licences or certificates for the transaction are in order.
- What documents will I need?
These include the original title, the contract of sale (which must specify who is responsible for paying stamp duty), a certificate from your local council stating that there are no restrictions placed on building works at the property, a survey report and copy of a bank statement showing that there is adequate money to complete the transfer. You’ll also need a conveyancing checklist containing a set of standard questions about your legal position – this acts as an instruction guide so your solicitor knows what he has to do.
- How can I reduce my conveyancing costs?
Avoid telephone consultations. Instead, ask if the property conveyancing solicitor charges extra for them and use faxes, emails or posts instead. But don’t try to haggle with your solicitor about his fee – you need his expertise to guide you through the process, so it’s best to pay him at least what he asks for upfront so that he doesn’t cut corners on your behalf out of fear of losing money on the deal.