A lot of property buyers and sellers often ask if they are in any form of obligation to instruct a conveyancing solicitor to oversee the legal transfer of the property’s ownership from one party to another.
The answer actually depends on a number of circumstances. Whilst there are not written regulations on DIY conveyancing, you run a few risks of getting overhead expenses (and possible legal hassle) if you do it without proper guidance.
Moreover, here’s a quick overview of how DIY conveyancing can either be beneficial or detrimental to your property sale or purchase.
When DIY Conveyancing is NOT Possible
Buying Through a Mortgage
When buying a property using a home loan, your lender will require proper representation – having the same conveyancing solicitor acting for you and them. If you inform your lender that you do not wish for a conveyancer to represent you, they will instruct one of their own, but at your expense.
Selling With an Outstanding Mortgage on the Property
If you’re selling your property but its mortgage has not been fully repaid yet, you may not be able to have the forms needed to remove the lender’s charge at HM Land Registry and hand the completion over. This is because the lender will not issue the discharge documents until after the redemption funds have been received. In this case, the buyers conveyancing solicitor will have to depend on your conveyancer to repay the mortgage and provide the discharge documents.
If you wish to carry on though, you may ask the buyer’s conveyancer to directly redeem the mortgage or instruct your own solicitor to deal with the redemption.
When DIY Conveyancing is NOT Recommended
It’s an obvious fact that any property transaction can be quite complex, but in general leasehold, commonhold, new build and unregistered purchases are the trickiest. Sellers conveyancers may not find it quite hard though, as the responsibility of carrying out the tough tasks are with the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor.
Whilst it’s not impossible for you, as a buyer, to oversee such tasks, we DO NOT recommend it. Even the experienced solicitors find it quite difficult to make sure everything is in place, especially with complex leasehold arrangements. Some of them even have inadequate knowledge of commonhold properties, and have little dealings with unregistered ones.
If you’re in for buying any of these types of properties, we advise against DIY conveyancing. Give it a lot of thought before you tackle this kind of transaction, especially if you’re looking to move in on an estimated date and time of the year.
When Can You Do DIY Conveyancing?
DIY conveyancing renders itself best if you’re looking at properties without outstanding mortgage, or if you’re buying without having to take out one. Deeds of gift (or transfers for no money) and transfers of equity without mortgage involved are also plausible types where DIY conveyancing maybe applicable.
If you’re doing your own conveyancing on these types of property transfers (purchases), you still have to be fully guided before tackling it.
How Does DIY Conveyancing Help You?
Because the national conveyancing protocols have made changes to the process, conveyancing has become more straightforward, even if you decide to do it on your own. It can even save you money if done properly.
A conveyancing solicitor, with the relatively convenient process and comprehensive regulations, can actually now handle hundreds of cases from buyers and sellers, without as much stress as before. With technology as their number one assistant, they are able to carry out conveyancing tasks quite efficiently.
Given that you will work on it on your own, you will find that the Internet, and other communication channels will be utterly helpful as you carry out the tasks that generally only licensed conveyancing solicitors did in the past. Also, you may find it that you’re much more in control of the transaction if you’re doing the conveyancing by yourself.
The Risks of DIY Conveyancing
Mistakes made during the process can be quite trivial, such as carrying out an unnecessary or wrong search, hence having to pay twice for a search. Some can also be a bit serious like misinterpreting a search result, or buying a non-salable property. It can also be as huge as realising you cannot in any way register the property after everything is completed.
When doing a DIY conveyancing as a seller, you need to be able to fully understand your legal obligations to avoid any troubles with the buyer. It can also help you prevent being tricked by the buyer into parting with money or ludicrously reducing the price.
Basically, you need to know two things why you generally need to instruct a conveyancer when buying or selling a property.
One, conveyancing solicitors are more well-versed and experienced in property transactions to deal with the process. They are less likely to make mistakes that run the risk of causing you more overhead expenses.
And two, if any mistakes are made causing a lot of loss, your conveyancing solicitor will be liable for that – having their insurance cover for such.
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