Dec 24, 2013

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What Exactly is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is actually a branch of property law that deals with the legal transfer of titles and deeds to properties from one owner to another. Most home buyers will recognize the process as two-fold. The first part is the exchange of contracts and if you have ever bought a home you will probably remember that milestone phone call when you solicitor rings to tell you that the contracts will exchanged on such-and-such a date. After that comes the ‘completion’ process whereby the title legally passes into the name of the new owner. The conveyancing system was designed to make sure that the new buyer could legally obtain and secure the title to the property. Your solicitor should conduct a land registry search as well as registering you as the new owner.

Since 2011 when the Legal Services Act came into being, conveyancing has become more of an open market, actually threatening the businesses of some solicitors. Basically, the Act meant that people who are not legally trained and are not lawyers may now own a law firm. Many solicitors rely heavily on their conveyancing wok to keep their company going during leaner times and some simply do property and conveyancing only. However the business model upon which the Act affects ABS’s—the Alternative Business Structure—actually complicates the process to the point where it is too difficult to simply become a conveyancer.

The Buying Process

Conveyancers in Reading, along with the rest of the country actually take somewhere between ten weeks and twelve weeks to complete the process, which to many home buyers feels like an absolute eternity. Under English law house buyers are still not legally bound to purchase the property until the actual contracts are signed and exchanged. This has both advantages and disadvantages because of the time wasted if one party pulls out. At the start of the process the buyer has to negotiate the price of the property and when the seller and buyer reach an agreement they usually enlist the services of a solicitor to help complete the legal process. Both solicitors then collect and compare information about the property according to the accepted national protocol of the Law Society. Most buyers also require a mortgage, for which they have to be pre-approved or pre-agreed by a bank or other financial institution.

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