I am selling my maisonette in Birmingham and the estate agent has just called to warn that the purchasers are appointing a new property lawyer. The excuse is that the bank will only engage with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. Why would a leading mortgage company only deal with certain solicitors rather the firm that they want to select for their conveyancing in Birmingham ?
Banks have always had an approved set of law firms that can act for them, but in the past few years big names such as HSBC, have considered and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have acted for them for decades.
Lending institutions point to the increase in fraud as the reason for the reduction – criteria have been stiffened as a smaller panel is easier to monitor. No lender will say how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society claims that it is being contacted daily by practices that have been removed from panels. Some do not even realise they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyers' case. Your purchasers are unlikely to have any sway in the decision.
Are the Birmingham conveyancing solicitors identified as being on the Santander conveyancing panel, together with their details provided by Santander?
Birmingham conveyancing firms themselves provide us confirmation that they are on the Santander conveyancing panel as opposed to being supplied with a list from Santander directly.
We were going to get a AIP from Coventry BS this week so we can work out what to offer on a property we like as otherwise we are dependent on web based calculators (which aren't taking into account credit checks etc). Do Coventry BS recommend any Birmingham solicitors on the Coventry BS conveyancing panel, or is it better to go independently?
You will need to appoint Birmingham solicitors independently although you'll need to choose one on the Coventry BS conveyancing panel. The solicitor represents both you and Coventry BS through the process.
I am currently in the process of buying my council flat in Birmingham. I have a mortgage offer with RBS. Conveyancing is new to me. Can I proceed without a solicitor easily? I think we can but we keep being told I should use one. Any advice?
It is not advisable to proceed with a house purchase without a solicitor. The council's solicitor are not acting for you. You need a solicitor for a number reasons. One of which is to verify what plans the Council have for repairs and refurbishment for the next five years. Many leaseholders have been stung for contributions of thousands of pounds. In any event, if you are getting a mortgage with RBS, you will need to appoint a solicitor on the RBS conveyancing panel.
I've read lots of house buying guides, I note that it is considered advisable to get your house surveyed prior to buying it. When I asked my local Birmingham solicitor - who is on the Co-operative conveyancing panel - on this she said they don't do this and I need to contract an independent surveyor. Is that normal?
Co-operative will need an independent valuation of the property. Your lawyer will not arrange this. Usually Co-operative will appoint their own surveyor to do this, and you will have to pay for it. Remember that this is a valuation for mortgage purposes and not a survey. Your conveyancer will not organise the survey but they may be able to put you in touch with a local one that they recommend. RICS offers a find a surveyor service (just google it) where you can search for a qualified surveyor by your Birmingham postcode. As you are getting a mortgage with Co-operative, you could contact them to see if they have a list of approved surveyors in Birmingham.
Are there restrictive covenants that are commonly identified as part of conveyancing in Birmingham?
Covenants that are restrictive in nature can be picked up when reviewing land registry title as part of the process of conveyancing in Birmingham. An 1874 stipulation that was seen was ‘The houses to be erected on the estate are each to be of a uniform elevation in accordance with the drawings to be prepared or approved by the vendor’s surveyor…’
Can you offer any advice when it comes to appointing a Birmingham conveyancing firm to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?
When appointing a property lawyer for lease extension works (regardless if they are a Birmingham conveyancing practice) it is imperative that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We suggest that you speak with two or three firms including non Birmingham conveyancing practices before you instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then so much the better. The following questions could be useful:
Can they put you in touch with clients in Birmingham who can give a testimonial?
I own a studio flat in Birmingham, conveyancing formalities finalised June 1996. How much will my lease extension cost? Equivalent properties in Birmingham with over 90 years remaining are worth £206,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £45 yearly. The lease comes to an end on 21st October 2087
With 67 years remaining on your lease the likely cost is going to range between £10,500 and £12,000 as well as legals.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more detailed due diligence. You should not use this information in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There are no doubt other concerns that need to be considered and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information without first seeking the advice of a professional.