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What in a nutshell is conveyancing and what does it involve?
In law, conveyancing is the transfer of legal title of property from one person to another, or the granting of an encumbrance such as a mortgage or a lien. A typical conveyancing transaction contains two major landmarks: the exchange of contracts (whereby equitable title passes) and completion (whereby legal title passes). Conveyancing occurs in three stages: before contract, before completion and after completion. A buyer of property must ensure that he or she obtains a good and marketable ‘title’ to the land; i.e., that the seller is the owner, has the right to sell the property, and there is no factor which would impede a mortgage or re-sale.
A system of conveyancing is designed to ensure that the buyer secures title to the land together with all the rights that run with the land, and is notified of any restrictions in advance of purchase.
What does conveyancing typically entail and what can be the kind of problems which may arise?
A house is usually the most expensive purchase you will make and it is important that you know what you are buying. We ensure that all the right questions are asked and searches carried out to ensure that our clients obtain good title. Problems are often identified by surveyors and we ensure these are thoroughly investigated and advise our clients accordingly.
Is conveyancing more straightforward on a new build property than say an older property, commercial, industrial, domestic and if so why?
Different types of properties require different investigation and advice. This is why it is important to instruct an experienced specialist solicitor, whatever type of property you are buying.
Has new legislation been introduced recently as regards conveyancing and how has or will this affect conveyancing?
Yes (see below). The new help offered should help first time buyers get on the property ladder and therefore help the rest of the chain move along, increasing the number of property sales and purchases.
The Help to Buy: ISA now available through banks and building societies. It is designed to reward people that are working hard to save up for their first home. First time buyers that choose to save through a Help to Buy: ISA will receive a government bonus to help them make the critical first step on the housing ladder. The bonus will represent 25% of the amount saved so, for the maximum monthly saving of £200, the government will contribute £50, with a maximum government contribution of £3,000 on £12,000 of savings. The bonus will be calculated and paid when you buy your first home. For basic rate taxpayers, this will be equivalent to saving completely free of tax for their first home. Accounts are limited to one per person rather than one per home so those buying together can both receive a bonus.
The government’s aim is to provide a scheme that offers a tax-free government bonus to help people who are saving up to buy a first home worth up to £450,000 in London or £250,000 anywhere else in the UK.
What are the key things a property buyer should look out for from a firm completing their conveyancing work?
Look for a firm that has the lexcel and conveyancing quality mark accreditation. Cheapest is not always best and if you are offered free conveyancing as part of a deal you may get what you pay for.
What should a person be looking for when they appoint someone to handle the conveyancing of a property what questions should they ask?
A good lawyer will flag up issues with the property and offer you advice on how to overcome them. You will get a clear estimate of costs from all reputable firms. Look out for the hidden extras some ‘conveyancing factory’ firms hide in the small print.
What kind of cost should people expect to pay for the services and how long should it take to complete?
Our fees start at £300 + plus vat and disbursements but are dependant on the value of the property and if the property is leasehold or freehold. All reputable firms will provide you with a detailed breakdown of cost before you instruct them to carry out the work. A typical conveyancing transaction will take between 6 and 8 weeks to complete.
For more information contact Sarah Purnell on 01495 763333, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.