What can you do to make the conveyancing process go smoothly ?

The conveyancing process is the culmination of an often long and torturous process of agreeing the price with the buyer or seller of a property and negotiating via estate agents.   Just when you thought the difficult part was over the conveyancing process kicks into gear.   It is generally recognised that whilst the estate agents and the clients put the deal together it is the conveyancing solicitor or property lawyer that makes or breaks the deal.  
 
Unless one has been through the conveyancing process before one would be forgiven into thinking that once you have agreed a price to either sell your property or to purchase a property it's a" done deal ".   Not so, government statistics have revealed that it takes approximately 13 weeks for a conveyancing transaction to proceed to exchange of contracts (at that point you are generally safe in having secured the property).   During that time you are in the hands of your conveyancing lawyer who will be negotiating and dealing with the other party’s solicitors.   Add to that mix that you may well have a negotiator from the estate agent pushing the deal along as his livelihood rests on the deal reaching a successful exchange of contracts.  

Regardless of the fact that what has been outlined above may give the impression that you are helpless, pawn in the conveyancing transaction, nothing could be further from the truth.   You have a major part to play in whether or not your house move is a nightmare or whether or not it goes through relatively smoothly.

It is important that your employ some positive thinking.   There are some things that you can physically do which can make the process a lot easier.   We set out below a few do’s and don’ts:-

  • At the earliest possible opportunity you should outline you expectations to your conveyancing lawyer with a chat over the phone. By all means shop around for a cheap conveyancing lawyer but do make sure you speak to your conveyancer before you appoint him or her.     It is essential that your conveyancing solicitor or property lawyer understands your requirements as they will be specific to your conveyancing transaction.   It may well be that you have negotiated certain points with your buyer or seller.   This may be as mundane as small items that you expect to remain at the property or as important as completion dates or whether or not you are purchasing subject to an existing tenancy agreement.   You need to recognise the fact that the conveyancing solicitor has never visited the property and is unlikely to do so.   Therefore, if you are unsure as to whether or not permissions have been obtained for certain alterations at the property, please outline your concern to your conveyancing lawyer.   If there are any specific questions you want your conveyancing lawyer to raise then please alert your conveyancer as earlier as possible.
  • Following on from the above, please do not enter into verbal arrangements with the seller or buyer without advising your conveyancing solicitor or property lawyer accordingly.   Often at Fridays  we find that clients have agreed completion dates without notifying the conveyancing solicitors in the chain.   Fridaysmove have recently had a situation whereby on the day of completion our client (the seller of a property) let the buyer into the property and handed over the keys before we had even received the completion monies from the buyer’s conveyancing solicitors.
  • Ensure that you read and understand everything supplied by your conveyancing solicitor.   Do not assume that simply because they are reviewing the documentation you do not need to look at it.   If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask your conveyancing lawyer.   There is no such thing as a stupid question in the conveyancing process.   Your conveyancing lawyer will not expect you to have any detailed knowledge and the attitude of Fridaysmove is to treat all clients as if they are first time buyers or sellers (in other words not take for granted or assume that the client understands or is familiar with the particular area of conveyancing law).
  • If you have any questions regarding the conveyancing process, your new home or anything someone has said, ask your conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible.   Do not wait until the last day before you raise a relevant question.   It may be too late.
  • Communicate with your conveyancer as much as possible but do not call them everyday.   One would expect to speak to a conveyancing lawyer once or twice a week during the conveyancing process but not everyday.
  • If you have a concern about the conveyancing lawyer or about the way your conveyancing case is being handled, then do not wait until the day before completion or following completion to complain.   Raise your issue as soon as possible with the conveyancing lawyer’s manager at the earliest possible opportunity.   It may well be that the file can be transferred to another lawyer within the conveyancing firm.   Communication breakdowns can easily be repaired by good conveyancing practices.
  • It may well be that neither you or your conveyancing lawyer is able to control anyone else involved in the chain.   Your conveyancing lawyer will do everything they can do but sometimes there will be nothing they can and than simply making phone calls down the chain for the sake of making phone calls from the chain is a futile exercise.    Do not necessarily believe everything that your estate agent says.   Satisfy yourself by speaking to your conveyancing lawyer about what is going on.