Conveyancing is the process of buying and selling properties in the UK. It encompasses all the major steps involved in liaising with multiple parties, exchanging on a property, completing a purchase, paying the monies to finish the transaction, and all the related paperwork involved too.
In this article, we delve into conveyancing a little more to better understand it and why it’s important.
Who Can Do Conveyancing?
Over time, processes have been established to standardise the way that properties are bought and sold. This makes it easier to complete a property transaction successfully.
Whilst it’s technically possible to learn the individual steps and complete a purchase (or sale) on your own, it wouldn’t be advisable. There are too many steps along with legal, financial and ownership hurdles where knowledge counts and mistakes can be very expensive. Also, trying to do it yourself will often delay a completion and result in the deal falling apart due to added delays borne from inexperience.
As a result, conveyancing is usually either performed by a licensed conveyancer (regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers) or a solicitor who performs a similar role. Usually, a solicitor or conveyancer is focused on multiple properties at various stages of sale or purchase on behalf of their clients rather than just one at a time.
What Are Some of the Activities That Are Conducted by a Professional?
A conveyancer or a specialist property solicitor focuses on manage property transactions. The solicitor is better placed in some ways, because they understand property law as well as have a broader legal understanding beyond property itself; conveyancers only study property law and no other kind.
When looking to purchase a property, the legal representative would perform a check at the Land Registry to see if there is a first charge or second charge on the property. These indicate a mortgage or other loan that needs to be paid off before the purchase is completed. Any purchase is coordinated to result in the charges being removed when the outstanding mortgage(s) are paid off. Similarly, a property purchase using a mortgage sees a charge added to the property to reflect the lending too.
What About Property Surveys?
A surveyor is typically assigned to produce a report about the property. They look at the property to discover any defects and other information that would indicate that the building has long-term issues.
The report can highlight subsidence in the property, poor foundations, issues with the electrical systems or other areas of importance. While this may not deter the buyer too much, it does provide a negotiating point should repairs be expensive. The seller can opt to pay for the repairs and then remarket the property or agree to a discount to cover the extra costs for the buyer to have necessary works completed post-purchase.
Ultimately, it doesn’t make sense to try to sell or buy a property without legal representation from a conveyancer or a solicitor. There are just too many things that can get missed or go wrong. Given that the costs are very reasonable (usually in the order of £900-£1,300), it provides both peace of mind and a smoother process when dealing with experienced professionals. Given that houses are usually the most expensive things we ever buy or sell in our lives, it pays to hire smart people to take care of the legal matters on your behalf.