Legal advice from Chris Illingworth, an Associate Solicitor specialising in residential conveyancing based at FDR Law’s office in Frodsham.
Q: Any tips before I instruct a conveyancer to carry out legal work on my house purchase?
A: We would always suggest that you ask who is actually going to work on your file during the conveyancing process and find out their level of expertise.
For example, at some firms like FDR you will have direct day to day contact with a specialist conveyancing solicitor, but at others you may be left dealing with a team of paralegals and inexperienced support staff that are running your file. In the latter case, those people will normally be supervised by a suitable qualified person, but that person will not have as much time to dedicate to you.
Conveyancing is complex, time-consuming and can be a costly exercise in the long run if something is not spotted that could result in disputes further down the line, and that’s where the expertise of a solicitor will come in, as they will be able to:
- Spot inaccuracies or potential issues on the property boundary lines that may lead to access problems in the future or disagreements with neighbouring properties.
- Check the legal ownership rights could mean that a buyer purchases a house from someone who didn’t actually own the property.
- Identify any obligations in the deeds that mean you cannot extend or carry out development that you plan.
The chief ombudsman, Adam Sampson, reported recently that 17.5% of the 7,500 complaints handled by their office in the last year were related to residential conveyancing complaints. Particular areas of concern were practices where transactions were handled predominately online, where there were fixed fees or on a ‘no-move, ‘no fee’ basis.
Remember that a specialist Conveyancing Solicitor will have the expertise and experience to identify potential pitfalls that an untrained or inexperienced eye may not see. They will also adhere to strict regulated guidelines and will have professional insurance.