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Avoiding common pitfalls in the conveyancing process

by Iain Mason

Published on 16th March 2023

Buying a house is a big commitment, and you will want to make sure you get everything right so the process goes as smoothly and swiftly as possible.

It is complicated, however, which is why the specialist conveyancing team here at Optimum is on hand to help at every stage, so your purchase or sale is kept on track.

We look after all the legal aspects of a house sale, purchase, re-mortgage, or transfer of equity, including drafting the contract paperwork and submitting the property searches and mortgage redemptions. We also deal with the exchange of funds on the exchange of contracts and the transfer of ownership, from buyer to seller on completion. 

But there can be a number of trip hazards along the way and, if you are aware of them, you hopefully can avoid them.

  • Make sure you use the correct ID

Your ID needs to be checked as part of the conveyancing process. Most firms these days deal with ID through a third party, which involves downloading an App to your phone or tablet. You can also still deal with your ID in person, where you will need to attend at the offices of the firm acting, where copies of your photo ID (such as a current passport or photocard driving licence) can then be copied and certified by a professional body which is accepted under the Government rules. Photocopies cannot be accepted. 

  • Instruct your solicitor or conveyancer early in the process

We would advise doing this as soon as you start house-hunting, or when you put your house on the market.  Please do not leave it until you have made or received an offer, or you may find it difficult to engage a quality, specialist legal adviser.

  • Carefully complete paperwork

Unfortunately, there is a fair bit of unavoidable paperwork in the conveyancing process, that you will be asked to complete at the very outset of the transaction. Ensure you take the time to read everything through carefully, make sure you understand it, and then complete, sign, and date in the right places, as even a minor error can cause significant delays or legal issues.

  • Avoiding gazumping

Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts an offer and then goes on to accept a higher one. This can be very frustrating and disappointing for buyers and one way to avoid this is to ask the seller and their estate agents to take the property off the market, once your offer has been accepted.

  • Complications in the chain

Sometimes, it happens that a chain falls apart and where this is the case, delays are inevitable. However, by engaging an experienced conveyancer, who keeps you up-to-date at every stage, you should be able to avoid unnecessary delays. They will also help manage your expectations in terms of which moving dates are realistic to work towards. 

  • Loss of title deeds

All title deeds in the UK should be registered with HM Land Registry. However, if the title deeds are missing or lost, then there can be a delay, while they are reconstructed or reconstituted. 

If the property is unregistered this will not cause any delays with your transaction, it just means that the buyer’s solicitors on completion will need to submit an application for First Registration.

By following our above advice, we hope you can head off common problems before they occur. For any help and advice with residential conveyancing, please contact our friendly Optimum Team: Karen Gleed or Tara Screen, or call 01793 538198

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