Applicable to England
straight from the horse's mouth!
This is our
list of conveyancing advice, as prepared by solicitors and conveyancers.
Always make sure your conveyancing firm is governed by the Law
Society/SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority).
You don't need to visit your high street solicitor anymore - you
can do your conveyancing via email / telephone.
Online conveyancing is often quicker than using a high street firm.
conveyancing quote – always make sure there are no hidden charges.
If the firm of Solicitors or Conveyancers you are using has more than
one office, then they can act on both sides of a transaction; that is,
one side acts for the vendor, the other acts for the purchaser. This
should help keep time scales down to a minimum. If they do not have more
than one office, then they cannot act for both the vendor and purchaser,
as this will be a Conflict of Interest
The BBC website states that the average solicitor fees (not including
Disbursements & VAT) in England & Wales is around £550.00
but good, cheaper options are available if you shop around.
Following the abolishment of the HIPs (Home Information Pack) buyers now
pay for the searches and the seller's only have to supply an EPC (Energy
Don't always go for the lowest priced Conveyancing firms; you normally
get what you pay for. Similarly, you don't want to end up paying a
Get several quotes and compare them side by side. Is there something one
firm is quoting for but another firm isn't? If so, ask them why and how
much they charge for it
If you are buying a property, does it have a HIP***? If so, how old is it?
Your mortgage lender will accept the searches found in a HIP as long as
they are no longer than 6 months old. This will save you having to
purchasing new searches.
***Home Information Packs have been
suspended with effect from 21 May 2010.
Energy Performance Certificates
are, however, still required.
Budget for extra disbursements - Some properties may be located in a
mining area for example, so your mortgage lender will require a mining
search to be carried out
Put aside around £200 to cover any extra searches which may come up
13. Buying a
property near a church? You might be liable for chancel repairs so
you'll probably require a chancel repairs search
If you are a first time buyer, you will be exempt from paying Stamp Duty on a
property which is under £250,000
However, if your partner has ever owned a property before you will not
be able to purchase together as first time buyers
When remortgaging, ask your lender if the product also comes with free
legals. This should save you hundreds of pounds in conveyancing fees,
plus takes the hassle out of finding a conveyancer to do the work
Ask your conveyancer if they
offer a no completion, no fee service.
Always check if your conveyancer charges for things like photocopying,
emails and writing letters - some firms do
Ask your conveyancers if they offer online case tracking, and if so, is
Thinking of doing your own conveyancing? You can, but it will take much
longer and will be a lot more stressful than if you were to use a
conveyancing specialist. You may find that you also struggle to get a
Buying a new build? Most developers want to complete and exchange within
28 days, so expect to pay more for your conveyancing.
Shared ownership purchases take the conveyancer longer to complete and
as a result will usually cost more
According to the Council of
Mortgage Lenders, over 28% of home sales fall through as a result of
buyers getting cold feet
Set realistic timescales, on average it takes between 6-8 weeks to
complete a house purchase or sale.
If selling do you have all the building regulation documents, relevant
planning permissions, FENSA/CORGI certificates to hand? It could cost
you more if you have lost or mislaid them.
If purchasing, make sure you have proof of your source of funds (money
used other than the mortgage) for money laundering regulations, usually
6 months of bank statements - ask your conveyancer.
Are family or friends gifting you money to help with your purchase?
Ensure you tell your lender and conveyancer as soon as possible.
Some firms have a client services team that can provide updates to you
without having to wait or make an appointment to speak to your
conveyancer - handy if you need a quick update or are unsure of
If the purchase price changes inform your lender and conveyancer as soon
as possible, it could delay the exchange as new documents and amended
mortgage offers need to be put in place.
If buying/selling a leasehold
property expert to pay slightly more for your conveyancing as the
conveyancer will also need to deal with the property management company.
In addition, be prepared for other charges payable to the managing
agents for example apportionment of service charges, notice of transfer
fees - these are not included in any quote you will get from the
Conveyancing firm as they will not know how much (if any) is required
until the conveyancing is half-way through.
If buying a mortgage in possession property (repossession), remember it
is 'sold as seen'. Any questions you have relating to the property may
not be answered as the seller will have limited information. The same
applies for executor estates.
Be prepared to be flexible
with completion dates, depending on how long the chain is.
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