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Speed up conveyancing!
Surveyors/Legal Services in general
Member Name: FraserP
Surveyors/Legal Services in general
Date: 12/02/01, updated on 12/02/01 (1239 review reads)
Advantages: Peace of mind
Disadvantages: Quality service is not cheap.
The process of house moving is always very stressful, but perhaps it helps a bit to know why some things take so long and what can be done about it.
From the point of view of a buyer You need:-
1) an offer of a loan.
2) the sale of your existing house
3) the result of searches, principally a search with the local authority and the environment agency (contaminated land).
4) a contract from the seller's solicitors.
5) replies to formal questions about the house called enquiries before contract.
6) a survey for value (minimum) and condition (needed for most houses, except new houses).
What slows it down then?
1) find out what you lender needs to be able to approve the release of funds. Because so much is now carried out at a distance there are a good deal of new anti-fraud procedures to make sure that you are who you say you are, which why you are asked to send copies of utility bills, passports and the like. Bear in mind that you need to fill in these infuriating forms and get them back as soon as you can. They also often need to see proof of life insurance and sometimes this can lead to medicals being required, for example. Some will insist on either using their own house insurance (expensive) or exhaustively checking the one you want to use, which can lead to delays while they get proof of cover.
2)It goes without saying that this can slow matters down. You could get bridging cover from a bank to enable to go ahead without selling first but that is very risky.
3) These searches can take 4/5 weeks. Some local authorities are computerised so can do it in a matter of a few days, but many are not and anyway the environment agency are now a major cause of delay, as it seems they are not geared up for the demand whipped up by all the scares about landfill, polluted land etc which are generally checked now. The environment searches are often done on post codes, so a
"positive" ie polluted site can be shown even though it may be half a mile away, but in the same post code..Doh!
4) This should be fairly rapid, provided the seller has told its bank/building society to release the deeds to the solicitor.
5) Again this should take only a few working days, provided the seller helps by replying fairly quickly.
6) Surveys are to 3 main standards; the lender's valuation (they check to see the house is worth lending against) a house buyer's survey (a bit of valuation and some checking of condition and this at least gives you some cover) or a full structural survey, which is recommended for unusual / older properties or where there are signs of possible trouble - cracks which you can get a credit card in, for example.
If you are anxious that some of these stages may hold you up and you may lose your bargain, you might try and get the seller to enter into a lockout agreement, giving you say 3 month's exclusivity and some security.
So what can you do to speed it up?
Find a solicitor who is recommended for attention to detail, for being accessible and getting on with it. If you cannot get a recommendation from a reliable source (Not the selling agent) then ring around for quotes but chose not on price but on how much information they ask and how much they give you in return; if they take time to listen and respond in writing, this is often a good sign. There should be a few of these rare animals in most major towns. Your solicitor does not have to be based in the place where you are buying, although local knowledge helps. Do not chose on price alone, otherwise you risk a poor service. Ask who will do the work day to day; are they a qualified solicitor? How long have they been doing conveyancing?
Ask to be copied in on correspondence so you can see what is happening without having to call all the time.
See if your lender will "pre clear&q
uot; you for a loan up to a given amount before you make an offer, so you only need to get the survey done once you find the house of your dreams.
Ask the lenders which local solicitors and surveyors are on their "approved" panels- if you use someone not approved, they will insist on getting their own people to check over the same work- more delay and often more cost too.
Chase up your surveyor after the inspection to make sure the report is OK and written up as soon as possible.
Finally, if you are offered a seller's survey, consider who selected the surveyor, who paid for it and whether you feel comfortable about this. This is the major problem with the seller's pack. I had one offered to me and was not impressed.
Remember too that the major cause of delay is the "chain" of people who get involved in several linked and dependant sales