I am nearing exchange of contracts for my flat in Hartfield and the estate agent has just e-mailed to say that the purchasers are switching property lawyer. I am told that this is due to the fact that the lender will only engage with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. On what basis would a leading mortgage company only work with specific law firms rather the firm that they want to choose to handle their conveyancing in Hartfield ?
Lenders have always had an approved set of law firms they are content to work with, but in recent years big names such as Nationwide, have considered and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have represented them for many years.
Mortgage companies justify this action to a rise in fraud as the reason for the reduction – criteria have been narrowed as a smaller panel is easier to maintain. Banks tend not to reveal 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. The purchasers are unlikely to have any sway in the decision.
The owners of the property we are looking to purchase hired a conveyancing firm in Hartfield who has insisted on a lock out agreement with a non-refundable deposit of 5k. Are such agreements sensible?
This kind of agreement isn't frequently used in Hartfield, conveyancers will often encourage clients away from them as they divert attention from the main conveyancing focus and if you end up having your deposit forfeited then the lawyer is left exposed. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that just because the proprietor has entered into an exclusivity contract they will sell to you. They may be in contravention of the contract if they are offered a large enough financial inducement to do so because a wronged buyer with the benefit of a exclusivity agreement will still have to show losses as a consequence of the breach and this may not equalise the financial benefit that the owner may obtain by breaking the agreement, no matter how morally reprehensible that may be.
This question may be naive but I am unseasoned as a first time purchaser of a ground floor flat in Hartfield. Do I collect the keys to the property on completion from my solicitor? If this is the case, I will use a High Street conveyancing solicitor in Hartfield?
There is no need to visit the lawyers office on the day of completion. Your solicitors will electronically transfer the purchase money to the seller's lawyers, and once they have received this, you will be able to receive the keys from the selling Agents and start moving into the property. Usually this occurs early afternoon.
I have instructed a Hartfield lawyer having made sure that they are on the Virgin Money conveyancing panel. Does my lawyer arrange the survey of the property?
Virgin Money will need an independent valuation of the property. Your lawyer will not arrange this. Usually Virgin Money 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. You may wish to consider appointing your own Hartfield surveyor to carry out a survey or prepare a home buyers report on the property. It is up to you to satisfy yourself that the property is structurally sound before you buy it. If the survey or report reveals that building work is needed, you should tell your solicitor. You may wish to renegotiate with the seller.
Skipton have agreed my mortgage in principle, my offer on a house in Hartfield has been agreed to, what happens next?
Your property agent will want to be advised as to your property lawyer's details (ensure that the solicitors are on the bank’s panel). Telephone Skipton or your financial adviser and complete any appropriate documentation. Skipton will appoint a valuer who will get in contact with the estate agent or seller to schedule an appointment. Once carried out (assuming no problems) it takes approximately ten days for the mortgage offer to be issued. Skipton will issue the offer to you and your conveyancers. The transaction will then take it’s course according the nature and complexity of the conveyancing in Hartfield.
Various online forums that I have frequented warn that are the main reason for hinderance in Hartfield conveyancing transactions. Is this right?
The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO) released conclusions of a review by MoveWithUs that conveyancing searches do not figure amongst the common causes of delays in the conveyancing process. Local searches are unlikely to be the root cause of holding up conveyancing in Hartfield.
I bought a flat in Hartfield last 23/5/2018 and to date it is still not registered with HM Land Registry. It is part of a development site and my solicitor told me that it can take one year to register. I have contacted HMLR directly and they have informed me the original application was cancelled due to questions not being addressed in time. Should I be concerned?
Contact your conveyancer - Where you are unsatisfied with the responses, look up their internal complaints protocol and escalate your concerns to a Partner. Registrations for Hartfield conveyancing are not known to be especially complex.