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The dictionary definition of conveyancing is: the act of transferring property title from one person to another.



At some point during your property transaction, you will need to employ the services of a solicitor to handle the legal aspects of conveyancing.

It is possible to handle the legal work yourself. We would strongly advise you to use a solicitor, there are lots of legal issues to handle and it takes a long time to get to know them well. You will be busy enough with other aspects of the property transaction. And you would not want all the extra legal complexities on your plate. For the sake of saving a few hundred pounds in solicitors fees, it's just not worth doing it yourself. Property transactions nowadays involve hundreds of thousands of pounds and you would not want to get the legal contracts wrong.

Care must be taken in selecting the right solicitor. The solicitor that you use for all your general legal work may not necessary be the best for conveyancing work. If you ask your solicitor to undertake the conveyancing work for you, you will find that he will refer you to an associate solicitor that specializes in property conveyancing. You may not get the same quality of service from this associate that you get from the solicitor you usually deal with. It is best to find a conveyancing solicitor by asking for recommendations from your friends who have moved recently and shopping around.

You may have come across firms of conveyancers These are simply solicitor firms that specialist solely in conveyancing work.

With regards to fees, it is best to agree them in advance with the solicitor so that you know exactly what you are paying. Fees can vary greatly between different solicitors, even though they do essentially the same work. The important thing is to find a reputable solicitor to do the conveyancing work.


Enquiries Before Contract

After your offer for a property has been accepted, the first task for you is to give the details of the transaction to your solicitor. Once your solicitor has received your instructions, his first task is to deal with the enquiries before contract. If you are buying, then your solicitor will be responsible for issuing a list of enquiries that the seller has to answer. An important point to note under UK law is: The seller is under no obligation to tell the buyer anything about the property unless he asks. The only exception to this is any defect in the title.

You may have heard the legal term caveat emptor which means let the buyer beware. If must be stressed that it is the buyers responsibility to ask all the right questions.


Local Searches

Once you have appointed your solicitor for your conveyancing work, he will usually ask you to pay search fees up front. These are fees charged by the local authority. The object of these searches is to establish that nothing restrictive or arbitrary is registered against the property you intend to buy in the register of local land charges. A search will reveal entries in the register with regard to any changes of a public nature, be it financial or restrictive, which may have been imposed on the property and may affect the property immediately or in the future.

If you are buying a listed building and the seller has not mentioned the fact, this would be revealed in the searches. Your searches may also reveal restrictive charges such as not being allowed to cut down trees in your back garden or whether the back lane of your rear entrance is privately owned and you need to pay to use it. Searches also revel any plans for compulsory purchase. Compulsory purchases may arise when a council wants to widen the road your house is on, for instance. It must be noted that, new entries are being added to the Local Authority register every day, and your searches may have missed the most recent additions. For this reason, it is a good idea for you to be doing some of your own research and keeping up with any local gossip or news that may affect the property you are buying.

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