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Behind the Scenes of House Purchases

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 19 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Conveyancer Sale Title Purchase

The biggest difference between buying and selling a house is the paperwork. For the clients, the Conveyancers and just about everyone there are reams of forms and documents to go through. I seriously doubt that there will ever be a 'paperless' conveyancers office - it's just not possible.

Whereas a conveyancer on a sale has the burden of proving their clients title, the conveyancer on a purchase has to check it all over again thoroughly and make sure that nothing is missed. This could include going to the property to check where a boundary is if there is some confusion or dealing with a problem that encompasses only a square foot of land. There has to be an exact account of the land, plans need to be triple-checked and of course, there are the problems with any covenants that may have been breached. The scope of problems is immense. It is impossible to go into every possible issue on this website; just know that for just about every problem there is a solution, your conveyancer should be able to tell you what you need to do.

The Chain of Events

  • The very first thing your conveyancer has to do is get full instructions from you. This will mean a lot of intrucstion forms for you to fill in but they should all be very straightforward.
  • Once they receive the draft contracts then searches are applied for and the investigation of the title begins. This will involve a detailing reading of all documents and a list of additional enquiries being drawn up and sent to the Sellers Conveyancer.
  • At some point during this your mortgage offer should arrive. There is no set timescale but it usually arrives about half way through the transaction. Your conveyancer then has to read every word of your offer and check that there are no issues with either yourself or the title you are buying. Bear in mind that lenders can be very strict about the types of property they lend on - your mortgage adviser should be able to help you here.
  • Once all of the paperwork is together and it all looks okay (i.e there are no adverse entries on the title, searches or mortgage) then you should receive a full and detailed REPORT - telling you everything you need to know and asking you to double-check that everything you thought you were buying is actually included!

The report stage may be your last opportunity to raise any enquiries you have - it is up to you to read the report in full and check that you are happy. You can't rely on your conveyancer to accept the title for you - they don't know you well enough.

All of the above sounds frighteningly simple - doesn't it? Well, it's not. There are a million variations of problems added to which, your conveyancer has to report even a minor discrepancy to your lender and then wait for their response; and trust me Lenders respond in their own time and have no compassion with your proposed timescales.

Once all of these niggling little issues are dealt with and you are happy with everything, you can sign the papers and start talking about dates. This is where the fun really begins! Everyone in the chain will have their own agenda and timetable and someone somewhere will have to compromise - if that has to be you, so be it; the goal is to move and as long as you get there does it really matter what day it is?

I hope that somewhere along the line of reading this you got the idea that the conveyancing on a house purchase is a complex and tricky business, taken to its extreme your conveyancer could be responsible for your future happiness! Let them be thorough, it may take time but it will mean that there is a much smaller margin for error.

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