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The Property Law That Will Affect Your House Sale

Jan 15, 2008
Buying a house was never really designed to be a fun process. Any enjoyment you get from it will probably come from looking at different properties and picking where you want to live for the next few years.

After you have found your perfect home, it's time for property law to swing into action. The process of getting the purchase legally completed is called conveyancing, and it can be pretty complicated.

You could do it yourself in theory. But most people just hire someone to do it for them, either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. Here's a handy property guide into the whole process, how to pick the right person who understands property law, and how it will affect you.

Picking the right legal representative is essential to making your house purchase as smooth a process as possible. If you already have a solicitor you know and trust, ask if their firm does conveyancing, or if they can recommend someone.

Solicitors are regulated by the Law Society and covered by a hefty indemnity insurance policy, in case they make a mistake that leaves you out of pocket. That's the upside - the downside is that they may see property law as boring work. It's certainly not as exciting as some other types of law. Some solicitors use conveyancing to keep a good cash flow in the business, but don't place a high priority on it.

If you want a guaranteed expert, then turn to a licensed conveyancer. These people are not fully qualified solicitors, but they have studied and understand property law and the process of buying and selling a house. All they do day in day out is house transactions. And that means they could be more focused than a general firm of solicitors... although if any legal problems outside of the purchase process crop up, they will have to refer you to a solicitor for help.

Conveyancers also tend to charge a little less. Fees from some firms can be as low as a couple of hundred pounds, whereas solicitors tend to charge a bit more. If you want the biggest bargain you can get and you're not bothered about seeing someone in person, there are now internet conveyancing firms.

Don't forget that there are extra charges on top of their fees. These typically include search charges, a land registry fee and any stamp duty on the property.

So once you've picked the right person to guide you through the maze of property law, and you've had an offer accepted on a property, the process begins.

Your legal representative will look over the draft contract drawn up by the seller's solicitor. It will state the particulars and conditions of the sale. They will also make a series of enquiries related to issues such as boundary disputes, restrictive covenants and rights of way on the property.

The seller will be sent a property information form to fill out. This should tally with what you think you're buying, including fixtures and fittings.

And of course your solicitor or conveyancer will obtain the title deed and land registry certificate, and do the relevant local searches. They will also check the seller does actually own the property and isn't bankrupt!

Once this has been finished you will be advised to sign the draft contract, exchange it, and arrange for completion (usually the day you move house).

There's a lot to be across. And while you could do it yourself to save a few quid, there's a lot of property law to navigate, and you might be better off hiring an expert to do it for you.
About the Author
For more about property laws that might affect selling your house, try visiting http://www.propertytoday.co.uk
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