A legal guide to the conveyancing process

In simple terms, a conveyancer’s job is to make you aware of any potential legal issues relating to a property you intend to buy.

These may not stop you from buying the property (although they may stop you from getting a mortgage on the property), but it is important that potential buyers are made aware of them, essentially, so they know what remedial action they may have to take.

The conveyancing process is generally undertaken between accepting an offer and completion of the deal

There is no point in starting the conveyancing process until you have had an offer accepted and there is no point in completing the deal until you are sure that everything is in order.

This is true regardless of the state of the property market.

Even when housing markets are strong and sellers are pushing to complete as quickly as possible, it’s still recommended to do your due diligence.

At the end of the day, revoking their acceptance of your offer is only going to benefit sellers if they can find buyers who are prepared to buy a property without the help of a conveyancer and that basically means cash buyers who are willing, essentially, to gamble not only with the purchase price of the property, but also with any associated liabilities.

The conveyancing process can be completed in a couple of weeks

In many cases, the conveyancing process will be done and dusted in a couple of weeks. When the conveyancing process does run on, it will generally be for one of two reasons.

The first reason, and the most common one, is that the conveyancer is waiting for someone else to provide them with information. This is particularly likely when the search involves a government body, such as a local authority, where lack of responses can lead to (painfully) slow responses.

Good conveyancers will “chase up” slow respondents, but there is a limit to how far they can push.

The other main reason,although thankfully much less common, is because the conveyancer has identified an issue which could have potentially serious (expensive) consequences.

While this may be unwelcome news to potential buyers, it is arguably a whole lot better than committing to a purchase only to learn about the problem when it comes back to bite you later.

It’s also worth noting that the fact that a conveyancer has identified a potential problem does not mean that there necessarily is a problem.

The conveyancer may come back with an “all-clear”, but again, buyers will only know for sure if they have a conveyancer check for them.

The conveyancing process is essentially a process of searching for relevant information

Once your conveyancer knows your address they will be able to determine which types of searches are relevant to your property.

Local authority searches, environmental searches and water and drainage searches are all essentially conducted as standard.

There are, however, many other types of searches which may need to be conducted depending on the location of the property.

For example, properties which are known to be in former mining areas may need coal mining and brine searches (which are often coupled with subsidence searches).

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