When you’re moving home you don’t want the unnecessary stress of problems with the legal work. A swift conclusion is the order of the day enabling you to get on with the unpacking, putting the kettle on and meeting your new neighbours.
At April King, we have an expert team ready to assist, including experienced independent property solicitors and conveyancers.
We will explain the difference between the types of property ownership including joint tenants and tenants-in-common. This is important when considering how the future proceeds are divided or bequeathed.
All conveyancing includes a free basic Will and a dedicated case manager (with direct line) to ensure everything runs smoothly.
For a free conveyancing quotation call April King today on 08700 120 130.
Legal services have changed. Ten years ago, you might have hired a solicitor on the high street to do your conveyancing for you. Now, you can buy conveyancing services that operate online, through a call centre or even in your local supermarket. These services are often cheaper than your local solicitor but there is a price to pay for the discount.
If your conveyancing transaction is fairly straightforward, this type of service may work for you. However, it’s difficult to know whether something unusual or unexpected is going to crop up during the transaction. The people handling your case may not be as legally qualified as your local lawyer or solicitor, who has years of experience in their field. This can lead to unnecessary delays and sometimes expensive errors.
Naturally, as a high street lawyer, we would recommend using a service like ours to handle your property transaction – but we are not the only one. All of the above observations are made by the Legal Ombudsman in their booklet ‘Using a conveyancing lawyer: Ten helpful tips‘.
Many advertisements for conveyancing services don’t really tell the full story when it comes to fees. Firstly, the sale of a property is always cheaper than a purchase. When you see an advert for ‘Conveyancing services – £229’, it will always refer to selling your property. The legal work in purchasing a property is more complex, and requires extra time and care – so naturally lawyers will charge more for this service.
The fees quoted in advertisements like these will also usually be exclusive of VAT so you need to add an extra 20% to the cost.
You also need to find out what extras the firm charges. ‘Disbursements’ are the necessary expenses that a lawyer will incur in the sale or purchase of a property, some of which you will usually have to pay up front. These might include search fees, Land Registry fees and stamp duty (if you are buying a house).
You should check the list of disbursements carefully as some companies use the disbursements to add on unnecessary fees such as ‘expedition fees’. Disguising costs as a disbursement is just one way companies can make their quote sound more competitive.
Keep in mind that cheapest is not always best – it depends on the level of service you need. The Legal Ombudsman recommends:
“Remember that buying a house is in all likelihood the biggest financial outlay you’ll have in your life. By all means make sure that you’ve got a competitive quote but don’t become consumed with getting the cheapest.”
When you are getting quotes, make sure you know exactly what you’ll pay if the property transaction falls through. Keep in mind that your lawyer may still have done a lot of work, even if the sale or purchase does not go ahead – and they will expect to be paid for their time. Some lawyers offer a ‘no move, no fee’ deal – check the terms carefully as there may be extras to pay, such as the cost of an insurance policy to cover any aborted transactions.
Be careful of recommendations that come from other service providers. Estate agents, mortgage brokers and lenders may all recommend lawyers to you but typically, they will receive some perk because of the recommendation. Some lenders will however insist you use a lawyer that is on their ‘panel’.
Many home buyers forget that their lawyer rarely will visit the property they are buying – and it’s therefore important for them to keep their lawyer informed about any concerns. For example, if someone over the age of 18 lives in the property who isn’t named on the sale papers, you may wish to mention this to your lawyer. Similarly, if you notice that the property has been extended, or there are signs of flooding in the area you need to tell your lawyer. Your lawyer will want to know about other matters relating to the local area such as rumours of developments nearby, or any disused buildings that could be used again. Asking the neighbours can be a good way to find out about possible development or other potential issues in the area.
If you are buying a house your lawyer will carry out a range of searches for you. They might include:
Your lawyer will be able to explain the differences between the available searches and which are recommended for the property that you are buying.
When the searches are complete, your lawyer will usually let you see the results and explain any relevant findings to you. It is always a good idea to check the results yourself and ask your lawyer any questions if you are unsure about anything.
Remember that the searches apply to the property you are buying, not the area around it. If, for example, you are buying a property with a beautiful view across a field and this is particularly important to you, you may wish to ask your lawyer to check whether there are any proposals for development of that field.
Your lawyer will send you a copy of the title plan which outlines exactly what you are buying. The boundary to the property will be marked in red. It is essential that you check this carefully. Visit the property and check that the plan agrees with the site. Buyers have often been mistaken in believing that a strip of land to the side, rear or front of the house they are purchasing will belong to them when in fact, it won’t. Raise any concerns you have with your lawyer.
Get in touch for a free conveyancing quote, without obligation.
April King’s headquarters are in Nottingham and we have 59 offices across the UK.
08700 120 130
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