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Mythbusters guide to: Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal work done to transfer the ownership of a property between seller and buyer.

Myth #1

I have to use the conveyancing solicitor suggested to me by my estate agent

You're the owner of the property, so it's up to you which solicitor you use – but always do some research before making a choice. Check the firm has accreditation, such as membership of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). Remember that using a local company will be more convenient, given that at various points you'll need to sign paperwork and provide evidence of your identity. A local business will also have established relationships with the area's estate agents, as well as full knowledge of how the local authority and other relevant bodies operate.

Myth #2

With conveyancing, it's sensible to just go with the cheapest quote

It's wise to carefully check the small print on any quotes you get for legal work. What at face value appears to be the cheapest quote for conveyancing may contain hidden ‘extra’ costs or ‘disbursements’. Charges for running searches, making bank transfers, and dealing with Stamp Duty and Land Registry fees should all be listed upfront; also watch out for any postage or courier fees. In addition, be aware of whether your estate agent is charging their preferred solicitor a referral fee to win your business – if they are, this cost might be passed on to you.

Myth #3

Conveyancing always takes a long time

It can be a drawn-out process, although the average time from instruction to completion is 10 weeks. At Hatch Brenner we get as much paperwork resolved at the beginning of the process as we can. This helps minimise the number of detailed enquiries that come back from a buyer’s solicitors, saving time later when deadlines begin to press. Good team communication also ensures everyone can respond to enquiries, helping to avoid the process stalling unnecessarily.

Myth #4

My conveyancer will arrange the HomeBuyer Report

A survey helps you assess whether it's worth you buying a property, but arranging one is not part of a solicitor's remit – doing so is the buyer's prerogative. They do, however, run searches, such as a Local Authority Search and Water Authority Search; they also handle the contracts, deal with the Land Registry, transfer funds and liaise with all the relevant parties, including the buyer/seller.

Myth #5

Once contracts have been signed they're legally binding

The contract is prepared in duplicate. At each end, the seller will sign one part of the contract and the buyer will sign the duplicate. The contract is not legally binding until the identical parts are dated and exchanged between solicitors, with a completion date having been agreed and the deposit paid. On completion, the ownership of the property changes once the buyer’s funds have arrived with the seller’s conveyancers. At this point, the buyer is entitled to vacant possession of the property.

If you're looking to buy or sell a property and would like to speak to a member of our Residential Property team, please call 01603 660 811 or email info@hatchbrenner.co.uk

If you would like further information about any service, call us on 01603 214220