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Your stress free guide to Solicitors


Buying a home and moving in takes a great deal of time and organising. It can be made a lot easier when you use the services of a legal team, offering their knowledge and experience throughout the process.

To help you get organised, we asked Wyn Williams at HardingEvans Solicitors to put together some quick and easy steps as a guide through this stressful time:

Selecting a Solicitor

This is a very important part of the process; you should always try and use a Solicitor that is a member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme. The Scheme is a sign of a quality service and provides a recognised standard for trustworthy, residential conveyancing practices. You should also ensure that your chosen Solicitor is on the panel of your mortgage company. If not, this can cause delay and further cost to you.

Trust

It is important to be upfront with your Solicitor about any potential problems that you think may occur. Your Solicitor will then be able to advise you of the best way to deal with any potential issues and how best to avoid them. By selecting an experienced team you know you will be in good hands.

What will your Solicitor need from you?

Your Solicitor will need to know your estate agents’ details, details about the property and identification, such as bank statements and passports. If you are obtaining a mortgage, advise your lender of your Solicitor’s details. If you are selling, your Solicitor will need Return of Property Information Forms from you as soon as possible.

Fees

Ensure you know the costs up front. Be careful of Solicitors offering fixed fee services as there are often hidden costs. Ask your Solicitor at the start of the process for the total price you will be paying for their services. And remember, the cheapest price doesn’t necessarily mean best value!

Jargon

Use a Solicitor that speaks plain English. There is nothing worse than not understanding what’s going on, especially with such a significant investment. It is important to understand each and every stage of the conveyancing process 100%. If you don’t understand something, always ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Stages of Conveyancing

There are several stages to the conveyancing process;

Stage 1

The instruction: Your Solicitor will confirm everything in a letter to you, contact the agent and the seller’s or buyer’s Solicitors. Once you receive your letter, check that everything is as it should be and return the requested documentation. On your purchase, and upon receipt of the contracts, the solicitor will then carry out relevant searches and raise any enquires. On your sale, once you’ve returned your completed forms and the client care letter, the Solicitor can issue contracts and deal with any enquires raised.

Stage 2

Mortgage offer and search results: Your Solicitor will study every detail of your mortgage offer to ensure that all details are correct. Once this and all search results and replies to enquires are received, a report will be sent to you on the property inviting you to sign the contract. To save your solicitor some time forward a copy of your valuation report once received from the mortgage company. On any sale, once the sale enquires are dealt with by yourself and the solicitor, the contract will be sent to you for signature.

Stage 3

Signing the contract: Ensure all aspects of your contract are explained to you before you sign, so that any grey areas can be cleared up and your Solicitor knows that you are 100% happy. Only then should contracts be exchanged with the seller. Please note, a signed contract is not binding until contracts are exchanged. Once everything is agreed between you and your Solicitor, and the seller’s or buyer’s party, your Solicitor will negotiate an exchange date that is best suited to your needs.

Stage 4

Exchange of contracts: With the completion date agreed, contracts are exchanged and the agreement is now legally binding. You are safe to call your removal company and start organising the big move. If purchasing, remember to start your building insurance as this becomes your responsibility from exchange. Don’t forget to provide your solicitor with a copy.

Stage 5

Completion: You’ve finally reached the day when you can pick up your keys and move into your new property, or vacate the property you are selling. One last tip; remember to read your meters!

Any good Solicitor will work hand-in-hand with you to make this process as easy and painless as possible. If you follow these tips, you should have a smooth, seamless and stress free move.

Written by Wyn Williams, Partner at HardingEvans Solicitors

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