This new contribution is based on conveyancing legal practice in the UK including warnings on what could go wrong.
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property from one owner to another. It sounds simple, but there are many things that can crop up along the way that can extend or totally disrupt the process- as with any legal transaction.
Problems can occur on both sides of the sale, I.E. selling a property, and buying a property. We hope that you won’t need it, but here are some of the most common problems that may occur, and what to do when you face them. Hint; most of the solutions involve property solicitors or Conveyancing solicitors.
Problems when selling a property
First of all, we’ll look at some of the things that may hinder you whilst in the process of selling a property.
- The purchaser does not pay the deposit on time
If this occurs, the first port of call is your real estate agent. They’ll likely be able to chase up on the situation, but if not, your conveyance or solicitor may need to come up with a solution- most likely charging interest on the unpaid deposit.
- Your bank isn’t able to settle on time
A majority of sellers have a mortgage which will need to be discharged. The process to do so can be extensive, and it’s possible that the arrangements which must be made between the bank and the conveyance could be delayed due to the bank not being ready. There are several reasons this could happen, including the appropriate department not receiving all of the documents they need for other banking departments.
- The purchaser isn’t ready to settle on time
If you haven’t already guessed, the bank plays an important role in the settlement process. If the bank comes across a delay in the mortgage documents, the purchaser won’t be ready yet either. If this does occur, it’s up to the conveyance or solicitor to inform you of your rights. Much like a delay with the deposit, you may be able to charge interest.
- The purchaser refuses to settle
To prevent this from occurring, ensure that any possible flaws in the property are discussed with your real estate agent when you are first considering selling the property.
If the purchaser notices any faults which they didn’t spot during their first look at the property, there’s a possibility that they might refuse to settle unless the issues are dealt with. If this occurs, you’ll need to enlist the help of your conveyancing solicitor- they will have the experience needed to know how to handle this sort of situation.
So, what about the problems that can occur when buying a property?
- You cannot obtain finance
The majority of the time, buyers will not be able to make a purchase as large as a house without some form of financing.
Sometimes, the buyer will sign a Contract of Sale, with the agreement that the sale is subject to finance by a certain date. This doesn’t mean that the bank or lender will be able to give the buyer the approval they need by the same date.
If this does occur, and the buyer still wishes to continue with the contract (there is also the option to terminate it), their conveyance or solicitor will hopefully be able to ask for an extension of the finance date.
- The bank is unable to settle on time
If on the off-chance that the bank is unable to process the loan by the date of settlement, this means you will be in breach of your Contract of Sale. This could incur interest, penalty fees, or even termination of the contract!
To avoid any of the above occurring, ensure that you discuss all of your options with your solicitor or conveyance to help ensure that all of your loan documents will be processed in time. You may also be able to apply for a settlement extension if need be.
- The property is not in the same condition as when you signed your Contract of Sale Unfortunately, this is quite a common issue.
If you conduct a final inspection of the property and come across any flaws or maintenance issues, you will have to discuss your rights with your conveyancer.
These are just a few examples of common issues, though. Whatever hurdles you encounter whilst purchasing or selling a property, it’s key to have a conveyancer or solicitor on your side to assist you. However, it can be tricky to know where to start when choosing one.
Solicitor VS Conveyancer
Not sure of the difference between the two? Don’t worry, not many people are.
To put it in the most basic terms possible; a solicitor is a qualified lawyer with training in many aspects of law, and can offer an array of full legal services such as taking someone to court. A conveyancer will have less training, but specialises in property.
You’ll probably only require the help of a conveyancing solicitor if any legal issues outside property law arise, or if more complex legal issues come about.
Things to consider
- If you do require the help of a solicitor, you may find that they will be handling other, more complex and more urgent cases, which will most likely mean that your ordinary conveyancing will be at the very bottom of their list of priorities.
- It’s also worth bearing in mind that solicitors are nearly always more expensive than conveyancers, but many larger solicitors practices will employ in-house conveyancers to do the Conveyancing for them.
- You must be prepared to visit the solicitors’ office in person- many insist on verifying who you are, and may even refuse to use emails to do business.
Simple research into conveyancing solicitors in your local area will make it easy to have face-to-face meetings. Firms such as Clapham and Collinge based in Norwich provide an experienced team of conveyancers with a reputation for providing a high quality service in the Norfolk area. You will be able to find a number of firms within your local area and the more you contact the easier it will become to get a feel of who you will be able to use for your property.