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Benefits of DIY Conveyancing

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 6 Aug 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
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Anyone who has ever bought or sold a property knows it's an expensive business. Even after you have worked out how much you can afford to pay for the actual building, there are thousands of pounds of additional costs in the form of mortgage arrangement fees, estate agents fees, and now the much talked about Home Information Pack has arrived, moving home can just end up feeling like an endless round of cheques and a dwindling bank balance. There is a way that homeowners can try to reduce the amount they pay out, if they are prepared to take the time and effort.

Conveyancing is the legal procedure for transferring ownership of property and has long been the sole arena of Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers. It doesn't have to be. There is no law that says you have to have legal representation and it is a sad fact that many hundreds of thousands of people don't even consider doing it themselves.

But I Haven't Got any Legal Knowledge!

You don't need a degree or any specialist knowledge to do your own 'DIY Conveyancing'. If you have the patience and the time there is a wealth of information at your local library or on the internet. With a bit of work you can find anything you need to.

There is nothing required during the process that is not public information, with a few forms and phone calls you can get everything you need from surveyors, search providers and the Land Registry.

You will need to follow the current protocol but this and all the required documents can be obtained quite easily from The Law Society or the Land Registry. There is nothing that need scare you if you like filling in forms!

The Benefits

With the current level of competition between Law Firms the legal fees are relatively small compared to the rest of the costs of moving home but by doing it yourself then you will still have a good few hundred pounds in your pocket, rather than paying yet another bill.

Perhaps the biggest benefit is the element of control; you will be your only concern and you can make sure that everything is dealt with straight away. There won't be a middleman giving you the potted highlights; you will be in possession of up to the minute information and able to make decisions without waiting for the post or a phone call.

Will it Go Through More Quickly?

The fast answer to this one is: probably not. Most transactions end up being part of a chain i.e. the person you are buying or selling to will have a property to deal with and so on. A chain can only move as fast as the slowest person in it so while you may be in control of everything else, you should still prepare for a long wait.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

Of course, as with anything in life there are problems that may seem insurmountable. The biggest of these will be mortgage companies. They prefer to deal with law firms because they are backed by huge negligence insurance policies, if you make a mistake you will be personally responsible.

You also need to consider whether the title to the property you are dealing with is just too complicated. To this end I would say that if the property is Leasehold, unregistered or if you are only transferring part of it then I would leave it to the professionals.

A Final Word......

As already mentioned, the only thing a Conveyancer does that you can't do yourself is dealing with the mortgage company. This doesn't have to be a problem as most Conveyancers will deal with this for you for a reduced fee.

If you have the time and patience then with a bit of research you can deal with your next move just as well as any Firm and save yourself some hard earned cash at an already expensive time.

One word of warning; the legal world is quite closed off so be prepared for some horrified looks when you tell people what you are doing! Be confident, keep at the research and if you have any concerns you can still ask a Conveyancer to have a glance over the papers, it shouldn't cost you much and it will certainly be less than you would have paid otherwise.

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As an exempt person (RSA 2007), I recently sold my mortgage free house without legal representation. The buyer's conveyancer insisted that, because I was not legally represented, exchange and completion must be on the same day. There were other conditions, including: deposit being held by buyer's conveyancer, provision of all documents prior to a formula A exchange etc. All the other conditions, required by the seller’s conveyancer, were acceptable but simultaneous exchange was opposed by everyone in the chain, including the buyer himself, because it would expose them to possible financial loss should anyone withdraw before exchange. Was the conveyancer's insistence on simultaneous E&C reasonable? I can find no reference to such a requirement anywhere.
Wal - 6-Aug-14 @ 4:18 PM
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