What Does a Conveyancer Do?
A conveyancer’s role begins once a buyer and a seller have agreed on an offer. They conduct property searches in association with the local authorities and other relevant bodies. These searches focus on three aspects – the local authority, water and property, and environmental situation. The purpose of the searches is to determine whether your property transaction will remain viable for you in the face of proposed future changes in the area. The extensive searches also confirm whether the property is located in a safe, protected area.
The conveyancer also communicates with the seller’s conveyancer to carry out a questionnaire that highlights the details of a property such as boundaries, fixtures, etc. which can be legally binding. The conveyancer takes these findings into account when negotiating contracts with the seller or buyer on your behalf and is also responsible for creating and reviewing the final agreement. Conveyancers also overlook the final processes of transferring documents and funds and reporting the transaction to the Land Registry.
The conveyancing process can be carried out by solicitors or licensed conveyancers. The primary difference between the two is that Licensed Conveyancers specialize in property law and only work with clients who are buying or selling property. Solicitors, on the other hand, have widespread legal knowledge and offer conveyancing amongst other services. In cases where other legal questions are involved in the property transaction, solicitors will be more beneficial. Otherwise, licensed conveyancers are a cheaper alternative.
Do I Need a Conveyancer Before I Make an Offer?
Initially, you may feel like you know what the best offer is according to your financial situation. However, acting without expert representation might risk overlooking crucial details during the negotiation process.
Many steps are taken before an offer is placed. These steps are made easier through a conveyancer. First, the seller is contacted to obtain all relevant information on the property. Next, all relevant searches are carried out. After this, the contract is negotiated accordingly and signed, which makes the deal binding. The Conveyancer is responsible for finalising the deal by confirming relevant documentation and monetary transactions with the seller.
Laws regarding conveyancing vary across the UK. Contrary to Scotland, in England and Wales, there is no legal requirement to engage a conveyancer prior to making an offer.
While a conveyancer is not necessary to make an offer in England and Wales, it is generally a good idea to hire one once the proposal is finalised.
Do I Need a Conveyancer to Sell a House?
Just like buying a house, selling a property can also be a complicated process. Whilst it is tempting to save costs otherwise spent on a conveyancer or solicitor, the opportunity cost of spending more of your own time managing the process should be taken into consideration.
Several steps must be taken before a property is sold. The first one is preparing a seller’s pack, which contains all relevant documents for the property you are selling. Then comes the process of negotiating a contract and dealing with the queries and concerns of potential buyers. Once this is finalised, the transfer of property documents and money is yet again a primary concern.
Once again, you can technically carry out these processes on your own or hire an estate agent. However, avoiding expert advice from a conveyancer or solicitor runs the risk of being legally blindsided, which specially dangerous in valuable property-related transactions.
If you are a resident of England and Wales, you may only hire a Licensed Conveyancer. In contrast, in other parts of the UK, you may also use the services of a Conveyance Solicitor.
Can I Do My Own Conveyancing (is this recommended, and how?)
The simple answer is yes, you can. However, even though the law does not prevent you from carrying out your property transactions, it is highly recommended for you to seek the help of professionals in this process. Conveyancers play a crucial role in researching properties and surveying the feasibility of the transaction as well as in protecting you from making novice mistakes while dealing with the seller or buyer.
For starters, if you are someone who has no background in law or finance, the whole process will be extremely cumbersome for you. You might overlook the smaller details, which could have major monetary and legal consequences for you. If a third party is involved in the transaction, such as a mortgage company, they will usually make it a condition for you to operate through a Conveyancer.
You should specially avoid carrying out the conveyancing process yourself if the following conditions hold: the property involved is a leasehold, not registered with the Land Registry, not a house or a flat, or other legal matters are included such as a divorcing party, etc.
At the same time, not hiring a conveyancer might allow you to save up to £1,100, which is why some people prefer to do the process on their own despite the considerable risks involved. If you are buying a property on your own, make sure you do not reveal your real interest in the property or the full amount you are willing to pay. The seller would otherwise use these weaknesses to capitalize on your eagerness. You should also keep a sharp eye on any changes in the property market to compare your situation. Lastly, you should make sure you are aware of all fixtures and fittings in the house you intend to buy. To put in your initial offer, you may then contact the concerned estate agent.
From a seller’s perspective, you will first need to determine the asking price for your property. You can do this by availing a free valuation from estate agents or surveying other similar properties in the area. You might also want to consider making specific reparations, which might increase your property value. You then need to determine which, if any, fittings you are prepared to offer along with the house. You need to distinguish what items count as fixtures and which fall under the category of fittings before you open up the property to buyers. Buyers tend to offer low prices initially, so it might be favorable for you to set a higher asking price to get the maximum amount.
You can carry out conveyancing on your own in theory. However, the high risks involved, along with the pressure you might face from involved third parties, make it advisable for you to seek the support of a solicitor or a Licensed Conveyancer.