Our Conveyancing Solicitors provide legal services for:
Whether you’re a first-time buyer, you’ve found your perfect country retreat or making an investment, it’s our aim to ensure your transaction goes as smoothly as possible.
We offer clear and practical advice on the legal aspects of buying or selling a house, a flat or land, and can guide you through the often confusing procedures that need to be followed.
Our Conveyancing Solicitors will work closely with you. Each Conveyancer has dedicated support staff, who’ll provide updates on the progress of your transaction.
We pride ourselves on providing a professional and friendly service and our Conveyancers aim to exceed customer expectations with every single client.
The conveyancing process has several legal terms you may not be familiar with, so we explain these in our A to Z of conveyancing terms.
More Information on Conveyancing
We’re committed to ensuring the conveyancing process is completed as promptly and methodically as possible.
Our Conveyancers are proactive helping all relevant parties to fulfil their commitments in a reasonable time.
We’ll also keep you informed of any problems or delays that may arise, as and when they occur.
If any additional legal work is required, we’ll explain why and confirm the cost before commencing.
Our Conveyancing Solicitors can ensure everything is in order and ready for completion day, so that your property purchase/sale goes ahead at the arranged time without any last minute hitches.
Once completion has been finalised, we’ll tie up all the necessary documentation, including the all-important registration of transfer of ownership with the Land Registry, resolving any further questions that might arise as a result, and ensuring you receive all your necessary documents promptly.
If, for any reason, your property purchase or sale fails to happen, we won’t charge you legal fees for the work we’ve undertaken - only third party fees such as property searches will be payable.
Moving home is widely regarded as one of life’s most stressful events, and with good reason.
But our specialist Conveyancers are committed to ensuring the whole process runs as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.
Fixed Conveyancing Fees
We offer fixed conveyancing fees, meaning that the price we quote you upfront is the price you’ll pay; unless there are unforeseen circumstances, in which case we’ll tell you at the earliest opportunity.
How Long Does Conveyancing Take?
There’s no hard and fast timeframe for the conveyancing process, although the period from the issue of contracts to completion is generally between 8 and 10 weeks.
Depending upon the complexity of the transaction, this period can increase. If the timings do change, there are usually good reasons for this and we’ll keep you posted if that happens.
Common Problems Buying a House
This is when the person you intend to buy a property from, having accepted a verbal offer, accepts a higher offer from somebody else. The term gazumping also applies when a seller decides to increase the asking price just before the exchange of contracts.
Unfortunately, without contracts being exchanged, the seller isn’t obliged to sell to you on the basis of a verbal agreement.
One solution is to ask the seller, as a condition of your offer, to remove the house from the market.
Although this provides some hope that the property will not attract a higher offer, it isn’t binding and the seller can just as easily place the property back on the market.
Gazumping can be extremely upsetting, as well as costly if you’ve already commissioned surveys.
We provide a No Sale, No Fee service, meaning you won’t have to pay the legal fees for the work we undertake if you’ve been gazumped. Any third party costs, such as searches, would still be passed to you for payment as usual.
Similar to gazumping, gazanging applies when the property owner cancels the sale and decides to stay. This is often for economic reasons, such as prices in the area going up and the vendor being tempted to sell a few months later.
Once again, this can be an unpleasant experience and our No Sale, No Fee policy means you won’t be charged our legal fees for any work that has already started.
If you’re applying for a mortgage, then your intended lender will carry out a mortgage valuation. If they decide that the amount you’ll be paying for the property is too much, they may decide not to lend you the funds required or, in some cases, a reduced amount.
When this happens, you can try and renegotiate the offer price with the seller or, if this fails, either cover the shortfall yourself as part of the deposit or seek a mortgage elsewhere.
Of course, the latter approach offers the possibility of the lender valuing the property likewise, leaving you with a choice of whether to continue with the purchase or recommence your house-hunting endeavours from the start.
- Survey problems
A professional property survey is required in order to highlight possible structural problems that might require attention, as well as help establish the true market value of the property.
It will also place you in a stronger negotiating position, allowing you the opportunity to either request the seller gets any issues fixed or reconsiders the asking price, taking the cost of repairs to you into account.
Typical problems that a surveyors report can reveal include damp, wet or dry rot, subsidence, electrical issues or knotweed on the property. Most can be easily remedied, without the sale falling through.
A mortgage lender may insist that any such problems are rectified before agreeing to loan you the funds to buy the house, delaying the process until the issues have been resolved.
- Delayed documents
Obtaining the documents from the various sources, whether it’s the local authority, the other party's Solicitor, mortgage lenders or the Land Registry, can affect the timings of a property transaction.
In these instances, the buyer and sellers can help maintain the momentum of the purchase or sale, as it’s in everyone’s interests that documents are completed and returned to the Solicitors as soon as possible.
- Breaking the housing chain
A housing chain is where the purchase of one or more properties depend upon the sale of others, creating a sequence of properties all requiring the preceding and succeeding purchases to complete successfully on the same day.
The number of variables present in multiple property transactions of this nature can give rise to complexities and issues that may cause stress and delays, with all parties facing the same challenges regarding surveys and documentation, while attempting to meet the same deadlines.
Communication between the Solicitors and their clients is important, in order to keep the transactions moving.
The worst case scenario for a housing chain is if one party pulls out, breaking the chain and causing the entire process to collapse. In such an event, your Conveyancing Solicitor will do everything in their power to keep your transaction alive, but sometimes things happen beyond their control and delays will occur.
- Getting your property to sell quickly
It can be frustrating when your expectations of a quick sale or purchase are thwarted by delays and inactivity.
To ensure your property transaction moves along as quickly as possible, it’s important that you respond to your Solicitor's questions and fill out and return any necessary paperwork when requested.
It’s also important that you have confidence in your Conveyancing Solicitor to look after your best interests. To this end, you should choose a law firm with a dedicated Conveyancing team, who’ll have the resources to deal more quickly with your transaction and keep you informed throughout.
- Changing your mind
Whether you are buying or selling a house, flat or bungalow, you can change your mind before the point at which contracts are exchanged.
If you’ve made or accepted an offer, you aren’t legally bound to follow it through until you and the other party have exchanged contracts.
- Will I have to visit the office?
It isn’t necessary for you to visit our offices at any time during the process, as we can send all documents by email or post and discuss any queries you have by email and phone.
- Negative equity?
Negative equity occurs when the value of your property falls to below that of the mortgage you have secured on it.
An example of this would be if you bought a house and obtained a mortgage for £175,000 but, due to events affecting the housing market, the value of the property later fell to £140,000.
This would leave you having to pay an extra £35,000 over what your house was now worth.
This can lead to problems in selling the house, which, unless you have the savings to cover the shortfall, you wouldn’t be able to do without the permission of your lender.
Even then, there’s every chance they would refuse your request until you have paid back the full cost of the mortgage.
There will also be difficulty remortgaging once your existing deal has runs its course, with most lenders refusing to allow you to switch to another favourable arrangement and instead moving you onto their standard variable rate.
If you’re determined to move while in negative equity, it’s worth talking to your mortgage lender to discuss the situation and, in some cases, find a solution. There are a number of lenders - not many, but some - who’ll offer a deal allowing you to transfer the deficit to a new mortgage.
These often come with additional costs and conditions, such as higher interest rates, early repayment charges on the existing mortgage, and eligibility limited to only those who have to move through necessity.
Making a Will isn’t a legal requirement for buying a house. It is, however, a sensible move when it comes to arranging how your assets should be distributed following your death.
As your home will probably be your biggest asset, ensuring it goes to your chosen Beneficiary or Beneficiaries is important.
If you own your home as part of a joint tenancy (with your spouse or civil partner, for instance), the property will automatically pass to your co-owner, overriding any bequest in a Will.
For more information, see Making a Will.
For free initial legal advice call our Conveyancing Solicitors
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Simpson Millar is a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Morecambe and Southport.