Instructing the right Solicitor to ensure that the conveyancing on your new purchase is not only done correctly, but speedily, is of the utmost importance.
In today’s market, the efficiency of your solicitor really can be the difference between hitting exchange and completion deadlines or not.
As a guide most lenders will only accept a solicitor if they are on their own panel of firms, so please ensure you check with your solicitor that they are able to act for the lender chosen. Lenders will also rarely accept firms who have less than 2 or 3 partners, with sole practitioners usually a no no. Again something worth checking.
What Do Solicitors Do?
A good solicitor is a hugely important part of any property purchase, safeguarding your interests and those of the mortgage lender throughout the entire transaction. Selecting the right solicitor early on in the process is therefore essential when it comes to buying a property.
When a purchase is agreed, the first task of the estate agent is to produce a memorandum of sale, including details of the property, names and addresses of the buyer and the seller and details of their chosen solicitors. Solicitor details will therefore be one of the first questions any prospective buyer is asked by an estate agent. Being armed with details of a good conveyancing solicitor, one you’ve spoken to for an idea of their services and prices, is often crucial in order to be taken as a “serious buyer”.
Once instructed, the solicitor will undertake tasks such as confirming ownership and title, undertaking property, local authority, planning and environmental searches, checking for restrictive covenants and rights affecting the property and, for leasehold properties, making sure any service charges aren’t excessive and if any major works or repairs are likely. This is by no means an exhaustive list, every transaction and property is different, while lenders also differ in their own requirements.
It is worth stressing that your solicitor is also acting for the lender. The property is after all their security for the loan and they have as much interest as the buyer in making sure all’s well with the legal aspect of the property. For that reason, lenders will only allow solicitors on their own panel to act for them.
Choosing a solicitor who is not on the panel of the mortgage lender means a separate solicitor will need to be instructed for the lender, usually at the cost of the purchaser. For that reason amongst others, it is worth selecting a solicitor included in the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme , which should help ensure the firm are on a good spread of lender panels.
Throughout this conveyancing process, the solicitor will liaise with parties such as the estate agent, mortgage adviser, mortgage lender, local councils, planning authorities, leasehold companies, managing agents and of course the seller, collecting a blizzard of information in the process.
It can be a hugely complex undertaking, often underestimated, and the importance of instructing a good, reputable and experienced solicitor to secure a property in what remains a competitive market cannot be underestimated.
If you do need help choosing a suitable firm, then the following are some great firms that we have dealt with in the past and are happy to recommend.
Just mention that we sent you.
Awdry Bailey & Douglas
Leadenhall Law Group
Level 30, Leadenhall Building
122 Leadenhall Street
Direct Dial: 020 3753 5598