My fiance and I are hoping to purchase a house in Somerset and are in fact using a Somerset conveyancing practice. Within the past 48 hours our property lawyer has sent a preliminary report and documents to look through in anticipation of exchanging contracts shortly. Halifax have this morning contacted us to inform me that they have now hit a problem as our Somerset conveyancer is not on their approved list of lawyers. What do we do from here?
When purchasing a property with the benefit of a mortgage it is standard 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 property lawyer should contact your bank 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 Somerset solicitors, in which case it will likely add costs, and it will likely delay the transaction as you have another set of people involved.
Having invested time looking at consumer advice sites for a high-quality lawyer in Somerset, many say that I must use a CQS assured solicitor. Can you explain what CQS is?
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) provides a kitemark for residential conveyancing practices issued by the Law Society. Membership achievement establishes a level of credibility for member firms with stakeholders (regulators, lenders, insurers and consumers) based upon: * the integrity of the senior responsible officer and other key conveyancing staff * the firm's adherence to good practice management standards * adherence to best practice conveyancing procedures through the scheme protocol the standard includes many partnerships who conduct conveyancing in Somerset.
Is it the case that all Somerset solicitor practices on the Bank of Ireland conveyancing panel are overseen by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority?
As a firm of solicitors, in order to be on the Bank of Ireland approved list of solicitors they would need to be regulated by the SRA. Many mortgage companies do permit licenced conveyancers on their panel and in such a situation the practice would be governed by the CLC.
I have decided to exercise my right to buy my property in Somerset off the council. I have a mortgage offer with Santander. Conveyancing is not something I have any knowledge of. Can I proceed without a solicitor easily? I think we can but we keep being told I should have 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 Santander, you will need to appoint a solicitor on the Santander conveyancing panel.
I have instructed a Somerset property lawyer having checked that they are on the UBS conveyancing panel. Does my lawyer arrange the survey of the property?
UBS will need an independent valuation of the property. Your lawyer will not arrange this. Usually UBS 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 Somerset 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.
How does conveyancing in Somerset differ for new build properties?
Most buyers of new build premises in Somerset come to us having been asked by the builder to exchange contracts and commit to the purchase even before the house is completed. This is because builders in Somerset typically purchase the real estate, plan the estate and want to get the plots sold off as they are building the properties. Buyers, therefore, will have to exchange contracts without actually seeing the house they are buying. To reduce the chances of losing the property, buyers should instruct conveyancers as soon as the property is reserved and mortgage applications should be submitted quickly. Due to the fact that it could be several months and even years between exchange of contracts and completion, the mortgage offer may need to be extended. It would be wise to use a lawyer who specialises in new build conveyancing especially if they are used to new build conveyancing in Somerset or who has acted in the same development.
My husband and I are 3 weeks into a freehold purchase having been directed to conveyancers by the local agent to execute conveyancing in Somerset. I am am very frustrated with the level of service. Could you you assist me in finding new conveyancers?
They would have to be really bad to suggest replacing them. Has your loan offer been generated? In the event that it has you need to make them aware of the new contact details and have the mortgage documents are re-sent. Your solicitor ideally should be on the mortgage company approved list to avoid escalating costs and delays. So that should be your starting point. Our find a solicitor tool can help you find a bank approved lawyer for your home move in Somerset