What is a Conveyancing Lawyer?

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It does not matter whether you are the buyer or seller of a property, you will need to engage the services of a conveyancing lawyer or licensed conveyancer to complete your transaction. As using such a person is a legal requirement there is no alternative, however it is helpful to know exactly what a conveyancing lawyer or licensed conveyancer does, firstly so that you understand what it is they are supposed to be doing on your behalf and secondly, so you can make sure they are doing it and that you are getting good value for money.

You will have engaged the services of your conveyancing lawyer or licensed conveyancer in order to represent your interests in the purchase or sale of a property, whether that is domestic residence or commercial business premises. It is their job to ensure that the terms and conditions in the contract of sale are both fair and reasonable and that everything is in order. Depending on whether you are the buyer or the seller you will get a different view of the work that is undertaken by a conveyancing lawyer as it varies depending on which party they are representing.

A conveyancing lawyer acting on behalf of a buyer will need to conduct various legal searches, as well as taking a view on the contract of sale that has been sent to them by the conveyancing lawyer acting for the seller. Any queries on this will need to be raised with the lawyer for the seller. If the buyer is borrowing money, i.e. getting a mortgage to purchase the property, then their conveyancing lawyer will need a copy of the formal mortgage offer and will need to be happy that the buyer has the funds to complete the transaction. The role of the conveyancing lawyer who is acting on behalf of the seller, is to firstly request a copy of the land registry entry for the property that the seller is selling and then to draw up the relevant contract of sale which is then forwarded to the buyer’s solicitor.

When all the relevant searches have been conducted, queries resolved and there is proof that funds are available, it is possible for exchange of contracts to take place. This is the legally binding point where the buyer agrees to buy and the seller agrees to sell. Up until the point of exchange, either party can withdraw from the process and will only lose any monies spent up to that point. When contracts are exchanged, a completion date can be agreed when remaining monies are transferred and the buyer gets the keys to the property. This can sometimes happen on the same day as contracts are exchanged.

Depending on the complexities of your transaction and whether you are the seller or the purchaser, you are likely to have very differing views on the work that has been undertaken by your conveyancing professional. It is clear that those working for sellers have less work to do than those working on behalf of purchasers, however they need to be equally competent and it is equally important that you have a good idea of what it is they should be doing, whichever side of the transaction you are on.

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