My husband and I are planning to acquire a property in Cowes and have instructed a Cowes conveyancing firm. Within the past 48 hours our solicitor has sent a preliminary report and documents to look through with the expectation that exchange is imminent. Barclays have this afternoon contacted us to advise us that they have now hit a problem as our Cowes lawyer is not on their conveyancing panel. Please explain?
When purchasing a property with mortgage finance it is conventional for the purchasers' lawyers to also represent 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 mortgage company 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 are not legally obliged to appoint a law firm on the lender’s conveyancing panel and you may continue to use your own Cowes solicitors, in which case your legal fees may increase, and it may delay matters as you are adding another lawyer into the mix.
Our conveyancer has uncovered a a legal deficiency with the lease for the flat we are buying in Cowes. The seller’s lawyers have put forward title insurance as a workaround. We are content with insurance and will cover the costs. Our conveyancing practitioner says that he must check that the bank is happy with this solution. Who is the client here, us or the mortgage company ?
The short answer to your last question is that, notwithstanding the potential for a conflict of interest, you and the bank are the client. Your lawyer must comply with the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook conditions. The UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook conditions require your lawyer to disclose issues such as defects with the lease so that the mortgage company can be afforded the opportunity to check with their valuer as to the extent that the value of the property is affected. Should you refuse to allow your lawyer to make the appropriate notification then your conveyancer will have no choice but to discontinue acting for you.
A friend suggested that where I am purchasing in Cowes I should carry out a Neighbourhood, Planning and Local Amenity Search. Can you explain what the purpose of this search is?
A search of this type is sometimes quoted for as part of the standard Cowes conveyancing searches. It is not a small report of about 40 pages, listing and detailing important information about Cowes around the property and the people living there. It incorporates an Aerial Photograph, Planning Applications, Land Use, Mobile Phone Masts, Rights of Way, the local Housing Market, Council Tax Banding, the type of People living in the area, the dominant type of Housing, the Average House Prices, Crime details, Local Education with plans and statistics, Local Amenities and other useful data about Cowes.
My husband and I are new on the property ladder - agreed a price, yet the estate agent informed us that the owners will only proceed if we appoint their preferred lawyers as they need an ‘expedited deal’. Our preferred option is to instruct a local conveyancer used to conveyancing in Cowes
It is improbable the vendors are behind this. If they want ‘a quick sale', alienating a genuine purchaser is going to damage their objectives. Try to communicate with the vendors directly and make the point that (a)you are motivated purchasers (b)you are ready to go, with finances in place © you are chain free (d) you wish to move quickly (e)however you are going to appoint your own,trusted Cowes conveyancing lawyers - not the ones that will give their negotiator at the agency a referral fee or achieve conveyancing targets demanded by HQ.
Do you have any top tips for leasehold conveyancing in Cowes from the point of view of speeding up the sale process?
- Much of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Cowes can be avoided where you instruct lawyers as soon as you market your property and request that they start to collate the leasehold documentation which will be required by the buyers’ representatives. You believe that you know the number of years left on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your solicitors. A buyer’s lawyer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 75 years. It is therefore important at an early stage that you identify whether the lease requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your premises on the market for sale. If there is a history of conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is very important that these are settled before the property is put on the market. The buyers and their solicitors will be concerned about purchasing a flat where there is a current dispute. You may need to swallow your pride and discharge any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to completion of the sale. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled prior to the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You will still have to reveal details of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over as opposed to ongoing. If you hold a share in a the freehold, you should make sure that you have the original share document. Arranging a replacement share certificate can be a lengthy formality and frustrates many a Cowes home move. If a duplicate share is needed, you should approach the company director and secretary or managing agents (if applicable) for this at the earliest opportunity. Many freeholders or managing agents in Cowes charge for providing management packs for a leasehold home. You or your lawyers should find out the actual amount of the charges. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus reducing delays. The typical amount of time it takes to receive management information is three weeks. It is the most common reason for delay in leasehold conveyancing in Cowes.
Cowes Leasehold Conveyancing - Sample of Questions you should consider before buying
How many years remain on the lease? Is the freehold owned collectively by the leaseholders?