When buying a house, when should I instruct a conveyancer?

If you consider buying a house, the process is not as straightforward as going into a shop and buying something. Therefore, most people decide that the best thing for them to do is to instruct  a conveyancer

There are many different kinds of solicitors to choose from, but in the instance of buying a property, you should look to instruct a conveyancing or property lawyer.

Why do I need a conveyancing lawyer when buying a house?

When you are buying a house, it is not a legal requirement for you to instruct a solicitor to act on your behalf. Technically, you have the right to act for yourself, but unless you are suitably qualified, it is not recommended. Without the assistance of a good property lawyer, you can come across numerous obstacles and the process can become very lengthy – which can cost you more, and potentially risk the chance of the property falling through.

A conveyancer should be instructed as soon as you make an offer on the property. They essentially carry out much of the administration and legal work. Some of the duties that are carried out by property solicitors include:

  • Giving legal advice
  • Dealing with contracts
  • Carrying out searches and dealing with the Land Registry
  • Transferring funds

What documents do I need to provide the conveyancing lawyer with?

The house-buying process can take a long time. As soon as you instruct a conveyancing lawyer, you will be required to supply them with documents to enable them to continue with the processing of the sale.  When you are buying a property, the documents that you will need to give to the law firm will be:

  • Proof of identity (such as passport or driver’s licence)
  • Proof of address (such as a utility bill or bank statement)
  • Proof of funds (up-to-date bank statement and mortgage offer if relevant)
  • Proof of source of funds
  • Proof of property insurance if you are taking a mortgage

It is recommended that you try to have these documents already prepared before you instruct a conveyancer to help the process to go through as quickly and smoothly as possible.

What is the house conveyancing buying process?

The house conveying process consists of several different stages. These are:

  1. The confirmation of instructions
  2. Checks on proof of identity and source of funds
  3. Making a draft contract request from the seller’s solicitor
  4. Receiving the fittings and contents form and copy of title documents from seller’s solicitor
  5. Carrying out property searches
  6. Raising any pre-contract queries
  7. Carrying out legal duties for your mortgage provider
  8. Exchange and completion of contracts and the transfer of funds
  9. Ensuring the payment of stamp duty
  10. Registration at the Land Registry of transfer in ownership

What types of searches should my conveyancing solicitor conduct?

One of the main duties that are carried out by conveyancers is searches. There are many different searches that can be carried out on your behalf. Some of them will be relevant to you and some will not and most conveyancers will recommend to their clients which searches they believe should be carried out. Some of the searches that are carried  out on your behalf include:

Local Authority searches – checking with the Local Authority for details related to the property, looking at any planning permissions that have been granted, and information relating to who pays for the upkeep of roads and pathways that are connected to your property.

Land Registry searches – confirming that the seller is the current owner of the property.

Water Authority searches – searches to show where water comes from and goes to, and who manages it.

Environmental searches – a look at environmental factors such as the property’s risk of flooding, state of foundations such as subsidence, and proximity to contaminated water.

Other searches include mining searches, Chancel searches, Bankruptcy searches, and Indemnity insurance.

Searches are normally ordered as soon as the offer has been accepted formally, but you should remember that these searches can take a long time to come back to the conveyancer and are not instant

How long does a conveyancer take to complete a property sale?

It can take a while for the buying of a house to go through – mainly due to the amount of paperwork that needs to be carried out by all parties. With a good, competent conveyancer the process will normally take between eight and twelve weeks to go through. However, there can often be hold-ups along the way – such as delays in the receiving of searches, and this is one reason why using a professional, a conveyancer can be so useful.

Is it possible to use the same Conveyancer for both the sale and purchase of a new home?

Unless you are a first-time buyer, the likelihood is that you will be selling a property at the same time. If you are doing this, it is recommended that you use the same Conveyancer to handle both the sale and buying of your property. This can streamline the whole process and make it happen faster.

There needs to be a relationship of trust between the client and their conveyancer, and it makes sense that once you have found one that you are happy with, you stick with them.

When choosing a conveyancing solicitor, what should I look for?

The most important aspect of choosing the best conveyancer for you is that they are experienced and with the necessary credentials and qualifications to handle your case properly. You should try to ensure that your conveyancer will act diligently and swiftly to help your sale to go through as quickly and stress-free as possible.

Choose Waldron’s Solicitors

Here at Waldron’s Solicitors, our experienced residential conveyancing solicitors are on hand to get started with your home buying right away. We work on your behalf to ensure that your sale goes through as quickly and smoothly as possible, getting you your dream home as soon as they can.  Also in the unfortunate circumstance of you losing your property, we do not charge any legal fees for work carried out, you will only have to pay the disbursements. Contact us.

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Abigail Gray who is an Associate Solicitor