Anyone buying a home for the first time will always hear stories about mistakes and myths that their friends and family have heard. Buying a new home is a complicated and often daunting process, and many of the myths you’ve heard can put you off even browsing sales listings!
Conveyancing is an essential part of buying a home, and your conveyancing solicitor will have a lot to do. It’s important to understand the conveyancing process as much as possible, and your solicitor will help you throughout the process. But there are some stubborn myths about conveyancing, which we will dispel right now.
Myth #1. Conveyancing solicitors organise the house survey
The house survey is as important as conveyancing, but the two are very different. Most mortgage lenders will require an independent house survey, with a chartered surveyor responsible for the survey. It’s a common misconception that your solicitor will arrange this on your behalf.
That’s not the case. You will need to find your own surveyor, preferably registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Remember, your conveyancing solicitor will carry out the property searches (making sure that everything is legally above board). The surveyor will carry out the property survey (making sure that the property is structurally sound etc.)
Myth #2: Cheap conveyancing is a great option
You should always do your research and check out the different prices a conveyancer will expect. However, the cost is not the main factor to consider when shopping for a conveyancing solicitor. You should also check reviews from previous clients, make sure that all conveyancing fees are transparent, and whether the solicitor offers both fixed fees and no-sale-no-fee.
If you contact a solicitor and they’re vague about the fees, or you read reviews that mention hidden costs on the final bill, avoid those options. Is it better if a conveyancing solicitor is local? There are certainly some advantages that far outweigh the benefits of an online-only service.
Myth #3: Conveyancing solicitors don’t communicate well
There’s a lot of work involved in the conveyancing process, but that’s no excuse for your solicitor to be uncommunicative. It’s a good idea to think of conveyancing as something you and your conveyancer have shared responsibility for. They will expect you to be communicative so that the house sale goes through quickly, and you should expect the same.
If you find that your conveyancing solicitor is slow to respond to messages via email, phone call, or text, it might be worth looking around for an alternative. It’s always in your benefit to find the best conveyancing solicitor possible. Don’t put up with an uncommunicative conveyancing solicitor.
Myth #4: It’s best to use the conveyancing solicitor recommended by the estate agent
Most property buyers will get a suggestion from their estate agent about a conveyancer. While this can be an excellent option, it’s important to be wary. There is no legal obligation to use the conveyancer recommended by an estate agent. Remember that the estate agent will be working on behalf of the seller, so they may not have your best interests at heart.
There’s also the fact that conveyancers may pay a referral fee to an estate agent, which will need to be paid somewhere along the line. Make sure that you don’t get hit with a few hundred pounds added to your bill. Do your research into local conveyancers to ensure that you get the best price without any final bill surprises.
Myth #5: Conveyancing takes a long time
This is easily one of the most common myths about conveyancing. There’s an assumption, especially among first time home buyers, that conveyancing takes forever, but that isn’t true. If there are no delays or complications, the entire conveyancing process can take just 8-12 weeks.
You can learn more about the conveyancing process by downloading our free conveyancing and property guide. This will give you a much clearer idea of what to expect. While delays can happen, such as buying chains collapsing or someone pulling out of a sale at the last minute, the conveyancing process isn’t as long as most buyers expect.
Myth #6: Once I’ve signed a contract, I own the house
There’s a lot of legal paperwork involved in buying or selling a home. The sales contract is one of those documents, and you’ll need to sign that for your solicitor. However, signing that sales contract doesn’t mean that you own the house from that point on. The exchange and completion process is where ownership transfer occurs, and only when the signed contracts exchange will the property legally become yours.
Myth #7: It’s a ridiculous amount of ID checks
ID checks are an essential part of conveyancing. Buyers, sellers, mortgage providers, and estate agents will all want to know that everyone involved is who they say they are. ID1 checks are vital as part of the required anti-money laundering checks, which your solicitor will have to carry out.
There are additional ID checks in some cases too. If you’ve received a gifted deposit, the person who gifted you that money will also have to have their ID checked. The source of the gifted deposit will also need to be confirmed to ensure that everything is above board and legally compliant.
Myth #8: There will always be hidden charges
There’s no excuse for a solicitor to add any hidden charges to your final bill. It’s vital that you choose a solicitor with transparent fees and that you have a good idea in advance of what to expect from those fees. We’ve written a free guide to conveyancing fees so that you know what to expect from your final bill.
One thing worth mentioning is that there has been a considerable rise in the number of online conveyancing services. While these tend to be priced a lot lower than your local solicitor, they also tend to be slow and impersonal, and hidden costs are common.
Busting the Myths of Conveyancing
The more you know about conveyancing, the easier it will be to avoid being stressed by prevalent myths. Buying a home is a big step, so learning as much about what happens as possible is a smart move. The more you know, the less stressful the process will be.
At Lockings, we work hard to ensure that you have easy communication, no hidden fees, and even provide a no-sale-no-fee service. So if a house sale doesn’t go through, you won’t have to pay any of the legal fees.
Contact our friendly office team today if you’re considering buying a new home. We can arrange a callback to connect you with one of our expert conveyancing solicitors and start getting you on the home-buying journey.