Me and my fiance are buying a 3 bedroom apartment in Gravesend with a mortgage. We have a Gravesend conveyancer, however the lender says he's not on their "panel". It seems we have little option but to appoint one of the bank panel firms or keep our Gravesend conveyancer and pay for one of their panel ones to act for them. This seems very unfair; can we not demand that the mortgage company use our Gravesend property lawyer ?
No, not really. Your mortgage offer is subject to its terms and conditions, one of which will be that lawyers will on the bank’s conveyancing panel. Until recently, most lenders had large numbers of law firms on their panels: a borrower could choose one for themselves, as long as it was on the lender's panel. The lender would then simply instruct the borrower's lawyers to act for the lender, too. You can use your lender's panel lawyers or you could borrow from another lender which does not restrict your choice. Another option that might be available is for your Gravesend conveyancing solicitor to apply to be on the conveyancing panel.
Why do I have to pay up front for conveyancing in Gravesend?
Where you are retaining lawyers for conveyancing in Gravesend your lawyer will ask you to provide them with funds to cover the the cost of the conveyancing searches. Normally this is needed to cover the fees of the Local Authority Search. When the deposit is as part of the sale price then this will be asked for shortly prior to contracts are exchanged. The closing balance that is needed will be payable shortly before completion.
Can you clarify what the consequences are if my lawyer’s firm is removed from the HSBC Conveyancing panel ahead of completing my conveyancing in Gravesend?
The first thing to point out is that, this is very unlikely to happen. In most cases even where a law firm is removed off of a panel the lender would allow the completion to go ahead as the lender would appreciate the difficulties that they would place you in if you have to instruct a new solicitor days before completion. In a worst case scenario where the lender insists that you instruct a new firm then it is possible for a very good lawyer to expedite the conveyancing albeit that you may pay a significant premium for this. The analogous situation is where a buyer instructs a lawyer, exchanges contracts and the law firm is shut down by a regulator such as the SRA. Again, in this situation you can find lawyers who can troubleshoot their way to bring the conveyancing to a satisfactory conclusion - albeit at a cost.
I got the keys to my apartment on 8 August and my personal details are still not registered. Need I be worried? My conveyancing solicitor in Gravesend said it should be concluded in less than a month. Are properties in Gravesend particularly slow to register?
As far as conveyancing in Gravesend registration is no faster or slower than anywhere else in the country. As opposed to being determined by geographic area, timeframes can differ according to who lodges the application, whether there are errors and if the Land registry communicate with any other parties. As of today in the region of 80% of submission are fully dealt with in less than three weeks but some can be subject to extensive delays. Registration is effected after the purchaser is living at the property so post completion formalities is not always top priority but if it is urgent that the the registration takes place urgently then you or your lawyers should communicate with the Registry to express the reasoning for the application to be prioritised.
Yesterday I discovered that there is a flying freehold element on a property I put an offer in last month in what should have been a quick, no chain conveyancing. Gravesend is where the house is located. Can you shed any light on this issue?
Flying freeholds in Gravesend are not the norm but are more likely to exist in relation to terraced houses. Even where you use a solicitor outside Gravesend you would need to get your solicitor to go through the deeds diligently. Your bank may require your conveyancing solicitor to take out an indemnity policy. Some of the more diligent conveyancing solicitors in Gravesend may determine that this is not enough and that the deeds be re-written to give you the most up to date legal protection. If so, the next door neighbour also had to sign up to the revised deeds.It is possible that your lender will not accept the situation so the sooner you find out the better. You should also check with your insurance broker as to whether they will insure a flying freehold premises.