What Should Your Solicitor be Doing?

WHAT CONVEYANCING SOLICITORS SHOULD DO FOR A SELLER

In a nutshell, they ensure they successfully transfer legal ownership of residential property (freehold or leasehold, registered or unregistered) from you to your buyer.

The skill and efficiency of your conveyancing solicitor can mean the difference between a smooth or stressful process. Conveyancing quality can range wildly by those who offer their services in the market place.

Please remember – It is your conveyancer’s job to get you to an exchange of contracts as efficiently and ideally as promptly as possible.

Whoever you select as your conveyancer, to ensure you know that you are receiving actual quality, you should expect the following, as a minimum:

  • If your deeds are registered at the Land Registry your conveyancer can instantly obtain a copy and dispatch contract papers to your buyers the very same day you instruct them.
  • You can be given your copy of the contract to sign. As a result you are signed up and potentially ready to exchange as soon as your buyers’ solicitor is ready to do so.
  • Early on, your conveyancer obtains a record of the balance owing on your mortgage (if any) and they prepare a statement of the net proceeds owing to you. This avoids any nasty surprises later on, in case you overlooked a deduction (e.g. estate agent’s bill, a second mortgage, early mortgage repayment penalty).
  • Your Buyers will review the contract papers, and if they wish to raise any questions, your conveyancer should attempt to deal with them, but if they require your input then should ideally email or telephone them through to you and request your answers – to keep up the pace of your house move. Post is a slow approach.
  • Once the buyer is happy with the contract papers and replies to their questions, (and your related purchase is ready if applicable), a specific move date is set, and the buyer’s finances are in place, it should be possible to proceed to exchange contracts.

NOTE: Exchange of Contracts is simply a telephone call between the buyers’ and sellers’ conveyancing solicitors to confirm that each party will not back out (as either party can until exchange), and will move (i.e. complete) at a fixed date shortly in the future. This then allows house clearance, carpet ordering (etc) and property removals to be booked without fear of cancellation and lost deposit.

Once Contracts have been exchanged the deal is legally binding. You and the buyer are fully committed to the transaction and cannot withdraw without facing substantial damages and penalties. Exchange of Contracts can be a lengthy and often frustrating process depending on the number of parties in the chain. Your conveyance should aim to shield you from this though the process can only move forward as quickly as the slowest person in the chain.

  • Your moving date, or more commonly ‘completion date’, is normally a week or two after Exchange of Contracts. Your conveyancer will prepare by requesting a final mortgage repayment amount calculated to the specific move date. They will also telephone/email you a day or two before completion just to check you are ready.
  • On the date of completion they receive the remaining sale price from the buyer’s solicitor. On receipt they will authorise the release of keys through the Estate Agents (where there is one). The Buyer collects the keys from the Agents. Any spare keys can be put through your letterbox.
  • They pay your Estate Agents, re-pay your mortgage provider and deduct their legal fees before sending you the net proceeds (or carrying them over to any related purchase).

Source : Trethowans

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