What does my conveyancing solicitor do?

You have found your ideal home and agreed a price. All you want to do is get the keys and get settled in but your solicitor isn’t ready for you to hand over that hard earned cash yet. What are they doing?

Your conveyancing solicitor carries out a full title examination of the property to make sure that it is “good and marketable” before they recommend that you enter a legally binding contract. Unlike the purchase of goods, there are few protections for the buyers of property. You will have heard the phrase “buyer beware”.

The range of checks your solicitor carries out will include the following:

  • Who is the vendor and do they have the legal ability to enter and complete a contract for the sale of the property?
  • Are there any debt issues affecting the property?
  • What is the tenure of ownership?
  • Are there any restrictions or obligations dictating what an owner must do or not do with the property?
  • Does the property have or require any rights over any other land?
  • Does anyone else have any rights over the property?
  • Where are the legal title boundaries of the property?
  • Have any works been done in the last 10 years that required planning permission or building control approval and were these permissions obtained? Were any other consents required for those works?
  • Does the property have connection to all necessary services?
  • Is the property accessed by an adopted public road and if not are there appropriate access rights in place?
  • What fixtures and fittings are included in the sale and what items are not included and will be removed by the vendor?

On average it takes around 4-6 weeks from when a sale is agreed for your solicitor to receive all of the documents necessary to complete their usual checks. If anything untoward arises from these checks, another few weeks may be required for further enquiries to be made until the matter is satisfactorily resolved. Your solicitor will then advise you that you can sign a contract and set a completion date. A completion date should not be set until this time as your solicitor cannot predict what queries will arise from the checks, and whether they will be resolved to their satisfaction. Agreeing a date before that point is a risk and can lead to disappointment if your solicitor is not ready for you to proceed. Remember, everything they are doing is to protect you and your mortgage lender.

If you need assistance with buying or selling property please contact our conveyancing department on 02890329801.