A Quick Guide to Conveyancing

Your promising house transaction can shatter in mere moments on the back of slipshod conveyancing. The great British dream of homeownership relies heavily on a streamlined transfer of ownership, complete with all the right commas and timescales. Even the most technically-sound conveyancer can get all those duties right and still fall short if their real estate agent relationships are riddled with sloppy communications. No wonder 45% of estate agents regularly work on improving their list of conveyancing partnerships. As a property owner, you rely on knowledgeable and impartial advice from your legal team, and it’s that second adjective that’s frequently neglected. A truly great conveyancer is an ethical one, and ethics demand objectivity. 

Roles of a Conveyancer 
According to the estate agents Yopa, conveyancer fills several roles, among them: 
  • Ensuring that the contract of sale has been received from your seller or agent. 
  • Making sure the title is well-drafted and that the property is marketable. 
  • Checking or drafting the contract. 
  • Keeping you informed of your rights and obligations as they relate to deadlines, concessions.
  • Requesting redemption statements from your lender if you’re mortgaging your home. 
  • Replying to any queries from your buyer or seller’s conveyancer in good time. 
  • Receiving and holding the buyer’s deposit. 
  • Working with the buyer or seller’s solicitor to set a completion date, at which point the purchase becomes legally binding. 
  • Receiving the rest of the payment and sending off title deeds to the buyer’s conveyancer. 
  • Settling estate agent and legal fees. 
  • Sending you any balance of the sales price once all loans and payments have been put to bed. 
If that workload isn’t heavy enough, your conveyancer must also follow an up-to-date version of The Lender’s Handbook, a set of standards that applies to residential property loans, along with The Building Societies Association’s mortgage instructions. It’s a lot to do, and expectations only become higher when ethics enter the picture. 

Ethical Duties 
Think of ethics as the factors that keep your relationship with your conveyancer positive and healthy. Understanding them will help you to create balanced expectations. You’re entitled, by law, to a particular standard of service, guided by three broad ethical constraints: 

  • Conflict of interest: If your solicitor worked for your lender, your loan would soon become an unfair burden to you. Conveyancers must avoid all conflicts of interest that could set your transfer off kilter. 
  • Confidentiality: If your solicitor is acting in the interests of both the buyer and seller, both parties must be informed of that. If permission isn’t sought, it’s likely to lead to a breach of confidentiality. 
  • Reporting to the lender: Lenders must make sure that the property is secure enough to support the loan and that it has a solid title. 
  • The Council for Conveyancers regulates the field and keeps its ethics in check, but it’s important to become acquainted with your rights. 

Should Sellers Choose their Conveyancers? 
Buyers usually pay conveyancing fees, but that doesn’t mean sellers should relinquish their right to influence their choice of conveyancer. These solicitors represent the best interests of the seller while simultaneously maintaining a balance between morality and profit-focus. 

How to Choose a Conveyancer 
Buyers and sellers often believe their deal revolves on the axis of their estate agents. In truth, your agent is only responsible for monitoring the work of your conveyancer, so it’s little wonder that estate agents see communication as the most important attribute in a solicitor, followed neatly by speed of closure. Fees and personal preferences fall all the way at the bottom of the priority list by the very professionals who understand the role best. You’re looking for a solicitor who’s a proactive problem solver, and yet one in five homeowners and buyers look to cost before any other trait. The only thing that proves your ownership is a small piece of paper, so your title deed should never be treated negligently. 

Conveyancers play a key role in the land registration process, so the industry’s integrity leaks far beyond your own boundaries into the fabric of the national economy. It’s a profession that must foster transparency as it drives a quick, efficient property transfer process. Do the due diligence of choosing the right solicitor, and you’ll check off a host of other due diligence duties in one go. The efficiency of your transfer will be its own reward.

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