Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Conveyancing - The client's role

Buying a property may not be as straight forward as you have been led to believe. Even though you have instructed a solicitor there are certain responsibilities that still rest with you and which you must keep in mind. It is important to note that your solicitor may be based outside the area in which you live and therefore may not have personal knowledge of the property you are purchasing.

Your solicitor will send to you during the conveyancing process a plan showing the boundaries of the property. It is important for you to go out and visit the property if you haven’t already done so to check that those boundaries match that shown on the title plan.

If there are any other properties adjoining the land or property which are purchasing which you consider may affect your enjoyment of your new home again it is important for you to let your solicitor know and to enable him to check the property concerned.

If you are buying a new home which is in the process of being constructed or which may have just been built again it is a good idea to have a good look around the plot speak with the developer and just make sure where exactly other properties are to be built in relation to your own.

If you have entered into any agreement with the seller direct for the purchase of items or any other aspect of the purchase it is important to make your solicitor aware of that agreement so that advice can be given if necessary.

Do not rely on advice given to you by the estate agent and/or mortgage broker. They are not legally trained and although their effort to assist is always exercised in good faith misunderstandings and problems can occur if you do not seek advice from the solicitor you have instructed direct.

The time it takes to purchase a property can vary and is influenced by a number of variable factors. A number of solicitors promise to complete a transaction within 4-6 weeks. This is often possible but can never be guaranteed. It is important to discuss any preferred completion dates or deadlines with your solicitor and to not make any arrangements for removal until a completion date has been agreed and confirmed to you in writing.

If you are purchasing a property and have received a mortgage with a short report on the condition of the property it is essential to obtain a more detailed report from a surveyor and before you commit yourself to the transaction. This is not a requirement of the process but when one considers that a substantial amount of money is being paid for the property it seems to us to be a matter of common sense that you would want to know everything about the condition of that property before making your final decision.

You may have noticed when looking round the property that the property has been extended or a conservatory has been attached and if this is so again it is important to mention this to your solicitor so they can check to make sure building regulations and planning permission was sought.

If you do not understand the conveyancing process do not be shy about asking your solicitor to explain it. The problem with many solicitors is that they are so busy and focused on getting you into your new home that they sometimes miss the fundamentals of explaining at the outset how the transaction will proceed.

Your solicitor may mention to you during the transaction covenants or restrictions which effect the property which you are purchasing.

Restrictive covenants are restrictions placed on the way in which the property is or can be used. They usually impose by the original owner or the developer if its a new property they may place limits on actions that can be taken for example the type of vehicle that can be parked on your drive.

If the property you are purchasing is a flat it is important to check that there is no restriction on letting and which is often the case a restriction on the type of pets that can be kept.

The other type of covenant that you need to keep your eye out for is one that imposes a positive obligation upon you. For example if there was a covenant that requires you to maintain a shared driveway it may also contain an obligation for you to contribute to the cost of maintaining that driveway.

You may wish to go in and inspect the property before your solicitor exchanges contract just to make sure that everything is still as you remembered it. It is not uncommon that it can often be a quite a long delay between inspection and the communication of the offer and when contracts are exchanged.

You may also wish to inspect the property again after exchange and before completion just to make sure nothing has happened between exchange and completion. It is very rare for anything to happen and most people leave properties in quite a reasonable condition before moving out. There have been horror stories however. There was one client who moved in to find out all the light fitting had been removed along with the radiators.

The seller has to make available to you a form identifying what fixtures and fittings are to remain in the property and what are to be removed. It may be worth taking a copy of this along with you when you carry out your inspection prior to completion.

I should add the inspection of the property is not an essential requirement of the process. It is only a recommendation that is made to avoid any misunderstanding that may happen after the property completes.

At Morgan Jones & Pett we try and ensure that your move from your existing home to your new home is as painless as possible and we are always on hand to deal with any queries you may have about the process. We also do our very best to ensure that you move quickly although we cannot as mentioned in this article make any guarantees about the time it will take as quite a number of the factors that influence the time of the transaction are beyond our control.

Further information about Morgan Jones & Pett’s conveyancing service please contact David Pett at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

For a conveyancing quote please call Shelley on 01603877001

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