Conveyancing; what is it really all about?

family buying a house

Conveyance seems confusing to a lot of people and in many ways, an excessively expensive paperwork task, which is tempting to take on yourself. But what do conveyancing solicitors actually do and why should you hire one?

Selling a home

The work is heavily associated with property transactions themselves and a case of making your funds have correctly moved from one account to another, showing that a sale is completed. But the role actually includes more than this.

During the surveying, property assessment and aspects of the transaction, there may be issues that the new owner discovers in the property after the purchase that they may feel should have been disclosed beforehand. What has and what does not have to be disclosed or what has been honestly missed during the surveying (rather than deliberately hidden) is of critical importance. And in the event that the sale escalates into civil court proceedings, you are going to need legal protection.

There are several options when seeking out a professional to aid with the property transaction; one is a full solicitor who has conveyancing as part of their standard training. The other is a licensed conveyancer; their scope of the law is far smaller, although they are more than capable of carrying out conveyancing in an efficient and economically viable way, they are not trained in other areas of the law and are only licensed strictly to carry out conveyancing and the associated transactions.

lawyer pointing at a document

It is always possible to carry out conveyancing yourself, but both a licensed conveyancer and a full solicitor are acting on behalf of their client in a civil matter. As your representatives, they have no more legal authority than you would but unless you have some experience in this area of law, it is not recommended to pursue your own conveyancing. Remember, in the event that everything goes well, the situation can still rapidly expand beyond your grasp, and even that of a normal conveyancer. This would force you to seek legal representation anyway and any errors made in the conveyancing could become extremely expensive.

There is also the issue that properties that are part of a chain; the other parties in the transaction may become concerned about your choice to self represent, and  may decide that the risks outweigh the benefits in continuing with the transaction.

Your legal representative will assess any property title deeds and outstanding mortgage documentation, as well as crafting the initial sales contract, bypassing these issues.

This is quite different to the role when helping a buyer, where they will negotiate with the mortgage lender and assess any potential property taxes, land taxes and duties that may be relevant. They will also make the first suggested amendments to the contract as part of a process of negotiating towards the final agreement.

What type of property you are seeking to purchase is an important factor with a relatively simple new build on freehold land a licensed conveyancer can be more than appropriate. But for any situation that could involve old properties with legal ambiguity, a fully bonded solicitor should be approached.

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