My partner and I are hoping to purchase a house in Berkshire and have instructed a Berkshire conveyancing firm. Within the past 48 hours our conveyancer has sent a preliminary report and documents to look through with a view to exchanging next week. Barnsley Building Society have this morning contacted us to inform me that they have now hit a problem as our Berkshire lawyer is not on their approved list of lawyers. Is this a problem?
When purchasing a property with the benefit of a mortgage it is normal for the purchasers' lawyers to also act for the purchaser's lender. In order to act for a bank or building society a law firm has to be on that lender's conveyancing panel. An application has to be made by the law firm to the lender to become a member of the lender's panel and there are increasingly strict criteria which the firm has to satisfy and indeed some lenders now require their panel members to be part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Accreditation Scheme. Your solicitor should contact your lender and see if they can apply for membership of their conveyancing panel, but if that is not viable they will instruct their own lawyers to represent them. You don't have to instruct a firm on the bank's conveyancing panel as you are at liberty to use your preferred Berkshire lawyers, in which case it will likely add costs, and it will likely delay the transaction as you are adding another lawyer into the mix.
My nephew is in the process of securing a new build apartment in Berkshire with a mortgage from Barclays. His lawyer has said that there is a delay in receiving the ‘Disclosure of Incentive Form’. What is this document - I have never come across this before?
The form is intended to provide information to the main parties engaged in the purchase. Therefore, it will be provided to your son’s lawyer who should be on the Barclays conveyancing panel as a standard part of the process, and to the surveyor when asked. The developer will be required to start the process by downloading the form and completing it. The form will therefore need to be available for the valuer at the time of his or her site visit. The form should be sent to the Barclays conveyancing panel solicitor as early as possible, in order to avoid any last minute delays, and no later than at exchange of contracts.
If you had a top tip for choosing a conveyancing solicitor in Berkshire what would it be?
We would encourage you not to go for the cheapest Berkshire conveyancing costs illustration. You really do get what you’re paying for when it comes to conveyancing solicitors. A cheap quote may mean that the conveyancing solicitor is handling a lot of jobs at one time and you won’t get the quality of service and the attention that you need. It is, however, wise to use a conveyancer who has a fixed fee on a no sale, no fee basis. This way, you go into the conveyancing with your eyes wide open.
How can we know in advance if a Berkshire conveyancing solicitor on the Principality panel is any good?
When it comes to conveyancing in Berkshire getting recommendations is a sensible starting point. Before you go ahead, check if they offer a no sale no fee offer. Also, you often get what you pay for - a firm which quotes more, will often provide a better service than one advertising the lowest fees. We would always advise that you speak with the solicitor conducting your conveyancing.
I am due to exchange contracts on my flat. I had a double glazing fitted in January 2007, but did not receive a FENSA certificate or Building Regulation Certificate. My purchaser’s lender, Co-operative are being difficult. The Berkshire solicitor who is on the Co-operative conveyancing panel is happy to accept ‘lack of building regulation’ insurance but Co-operative are requiring a building regulation certificate. Why do Co-operative have a conveyancing panel if they don't accept advice from them?
It is probably the case that Co-operative have referred the matter to their valuer. The reason why Co-operative may not want to accept indemnity insurance is because it does not give them any reassurance that the double glazing was correctly and safely installed. The indemnity insurance merely protects against enforcement action which is very unlikely anyway.
My step-father has suggested that I instruct his conveyancing solicitors in Berkshire. Should I use them?
No doubt it’s preferable to select a conveyancing lawyer is to have recommendations from friends or relatives who have actually experience in using the firm you're contemplating using.
I’m about to sell my basement flat in Berkshire. Conveyancing lawyers have not yet been instructed, but I have just had a quarterly service charge invoice – Do I pay up?
The sensible thing to do is pay the invoice as usual as all ground rent and maintenance invoices should be apportioned as part of the financial calculations for completion monies, so you should recover the relevant percentage by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most managing agents will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date, so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.
Leasehold Conveyancing in Berkshire - Examples of Queries Prior to buying
It would be wise to discover if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For example it is very common in Berkshire leases that pets are not allowed in in a block in Berkshire. If you love the flatin Berkshire yet your dog can’t live with you then you will be presented with a hard choice. Are there any major works in the near future that will likely increase the maintenance fees? Who are the managing agents?