Property law is a complex matter which requires an in-depth knowledge of the transactions and procedures involved throughout the whole conveyancing process (the legal process of transferring a property from one owner to another). The conveyancing process can include completing transfer forms, carrying out searches and formal enquiries on the property, verifying the identities of the purchasers and dealing with any financial processes.
A property solicitor is of course trained and qualified to deal easily with all of the above scenarios, plus the myriad of queries and nuances that can often accompany any element of the process. They will also understand the local area so if you are for example based in Essex, running an internet search for property solicitors Essex will return you the most advantageous results.
As with many property purchases some people are tempted to take on aspects of the project themselves, including the conveyancing element of the sale. The consideration behind this is usually in a bid to reduce external costs. However, the increased information and self-help available on the web is fuelling self-confidence, and the sometimes-misguided thought, that the process can be easily tackled without the input of a legal professional.
So, is conveyancing something you should, or could, be taking on yourself?
The straight answer is no. The complexity of the individual aspects of the process along with the often-lengthy communications involved between all parties is not something that should be underestimated. Deadlines for filing and releasing funds are often enough to convince people to leave this process in the hands of a property or conveyancing solicitor.
There is of course nothing to stop you from tackling this task yourself if you do feel competent and knowledgeable enough to do so. However, it should be noted that if a mortgage is involved then the lender will almost certainly insist that a property solicitor is used to complete the conveyancing process.
Your property solicitor will efficiently carry out the following tasks whilst also looking for any other problems that could arise. Hidden problems can cause hold ups and run a risk of incurring additional costs so spotting and rectifying these early is imperative.
These searches can range from local authority searches, environmental searches and water and drainage searches and include many different sub-categories. Your solicitor will have the knowledge to decide which searches are both required and relevant to your property.
As part of the conveyancing process your solicitor will, when appropriate, verify your identity for the Land Registry application. This verification has to be processed by your property solicitor, there is no remit for you to perform this on your own.
Once you have completed the sale this will need to be registered with the HM Land Registry. Your solicitor will register this for you and provide you with proof of ownership.
Your solicitor will work out for you if you need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax which will be paid within the deadline of 14 days after completion. This can be a complicated area to navigate with different rates being applied on sliding scales depending on whether you are a first-time buyer, mover, buy to let individual or holiday homeowner.
If you utilise the services of a property solicitor, then you will save yourself so much time and energy. You are also covering yourself in case something does go wrong in the process, as you will be covered by the professional insurance of your solicitor, giving you peace of mind and enabling you to spend your time more efficiently on other aspects of your property purchase and upcoming move.