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Behind the Scenes of House Sales

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 8 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Conveyancer Sale Title Defects

There is a commonly held belief that it is much easier to sell a house than it is to buy one. For the most part, and from the conveyancerss point of view - this is true.

The key job for the Conveyancer acting on a sale is to prove that you have the right to sell the house. They are required to prove to the buyers conveyancer that you are able to give a valid title to your buyer and make various guarantees, clearly if the title is registered then most of the hard work was done some years ago. This does not mean however that there are no defects and your conveyancer will be required to check the title and make sure that these can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

The Chain of Events

  • The very first thing any conveyancer must do is get full instructions from you. This will mean that there are a lot of instruction forms for you to fill in but they should all be very straightforward.
  • Then they will need to collect together all of the deeds relating to your property. If the title is already registered than this can be done very easily online but there may also be old deeds and documents that you are holding that could be of use - it won't hurt to take these in, at the very least you will free up a space in your home!
  • Once they have checked through the title, and raised any queries with you, then they will prepare a contract and send this along with copies of all the deeds to the buyers conveyancers. They will also send copies of the property information forms that you will have completed.
  • Following a brief spell they should then receive additional enquiries from the conveyancers, you will be expected answer some if not all of these and it is up to you to do it as fully as possible - if you aren't sure of an answer, don't hazard a guess - just say you don't know.
  • Once all of the enquiries are dealt with and everyone is happy you can start to think about exchange and completion. Then, once everyone has settled on a date and any niggly bits are dealt you can make the whole thing formal by exchanging the contracts itself.

Just because exchange of contracts has taken place and you now have your completion date set does not mean that your conveyancer can sit back and do nothing. They will have to make one final check of the title, chase up redemption figures, prepare completion statements and generally make sure that there is very little, from their point of view; that could halt the sale going ahead.

I have managed to give a very brief overview of what takes place behind the scenes but clearly time, and space, prevent me from going into details. Suffice it to say that each one of these stages is time-consuming and often requires detailed study of the deeds and the law, coupled with trying to find the most expedient way around a problem.

As I said before; generally it is 'easier' to sell a house than it is to buy one, there is a lot less paperwork to go through but there are still a lot of hurdles to get over so don't be fooled into thinking that your conveyancer is sitting around doing nothing, there is a lot going on that you don't know about - and why should you need to know? That's what you are paying for.

The only time you should really need to get involved is when decisions need to be made that involve paying for something or moving dates. Your conveyancer can't make decisions for you so don't expect them to, they can only advise you on the best step to take; they can't guarantee the outcome. Any legal work involves a complex system of checks and balances and sometimes legal promises (undertakings) need to be made - your conveyancer should not do this without consulting you first, so don't be surprised if you get a phone call asking what seems to be a simple question.

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