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Archive for April, 2012


Conveyancing Services and Hidden Fees | Sunday, April 15th, 2012

There are many conveyancing services, each offering a different pricing and price package for the work of conveyancing.  To make sure your property title is clear and has no legal lien or judgments against it, the process of researching and surveying can easily be a costly one, but it doesn’t have to be.

Basic Fee Structure for Conveyancing

A straightforward conveyancing service package will include checking of public records and court house documents to see if the land title has any problems or if it is clear to be sold.  There are two basic fee structures: either a flat fee for the work or you could be charged on a per hour basis.  If you find a firm that will do the work for a flat fee, always find out what the fee includes – do not assume that the fees include all court document filing fees, photocopying fees, and postage fees.  Often time those charges are not included and can really add up in the end.

Hidden Fees

Ask specifically if what you are paying for includes the following charges:

  • Postage office charges and fees.  It may seem a like a small detail, but these charges can and do add up quickly.
  • Copy Fees.  Ask if you will be charged for any copies you request or that are needed in the process of conveyancing.  If you will be charged for any copies, ask what the rate is per copy.  For each page of the document, and since many reports are several pages long, this could be quite costly.
  • Court Fees.  If the courts charge for filing any documents or for the photocopying of any documents, find out if your package will cover these costs or if these charges are passed along to you separately.  This can really pad the bill that you will be receiving.
  • Mortgage Transaction Costs.  Will you be charged additionally for this or does the firm handling the conveyance cover these charges for you?

Conveyancing can be an expensive process depending on the firm that is handling your conveyancing, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.  There are many solicitors and private conveyancing services companies with comprehensive service packages, it just takes a little looking around to find the right fit.  When you meet with or call any a conveyancing service, have your list of questions ready and do not sign any contract or hire the agency or firm without making sure you know what their service does and, more importantly, doesn’t include.

Being on your way to purchasing or sell a property is an exciting proposition, especially for first time home buyers, but always be aware of what it takes to make a good decision in this important process.  Another question to ask when speaking with a prospective conveyancing firm is to find out if they handle all your work within their office or if they hire out the work to other firms.  This is crucial as they are dealing with sensitive and private information, and your confidentiality and privacy should be a top priority not only for you but for the conveyancing services firm you work with.

The Difficulties Of The Conveyancing Process When Property Part Of Probate Sales | Sunday, April 1st, 2012

When considering the conveyancing process, one of the difficult areas for both the solicitors instructed to complete the conveyancing process and the individuals concerned, is when the property has been left in a will. The sale of this property by the individual is called a probate sale and it may come about for a range of reasons. The beneficiaries of the will may have been given the property between them and want to split their money evenly, they may already have a house and not want the hassle of a second one or they may just simply wish to free up the capital from the property. Whatever the reason for the sale, choosing a helpful and competitively priced solicitor to take care of the conveyancing process for you is essential to ensuring the transaction runs smoothly.

 

It is not uncommon for those looking to purchase a house and commence the conveyancing process to find that the property is owned by a man or woman who has passed away, and the property is being sold by the executors of their will. This changes the conveyancing process as it adds certain things onto the original aspects of the conveyancing process. For example, the solicitor responsible for the buyers conveyancing process will be required to obtain a copy of the grant of probate. Usually part of the conveyancing process that is performed by the solicitor involves registering the property with the land registry under the new owners names, but without a copy of this grant of probate the land registry will not allow this transfer.

There are benefits to purchasing a property from an individual who has passed away (or more accurately, purchasing it from the executors of their will). The main advantage is that the buying and conveyancing process can run a lot quicker and smoother as their is no chain, i.e. they are not waiting on the homeowner to move out or relying on the homeowners successful purchase of another house. However, there can also be disadvantages. On hearing a will, many beneficiaries will then begin to advertise the property for sale before they have actually obtained a grant of probate – which can understandably effect the conveyancing process and slow down the whole conveyancing process until it is obtained.

 

The conveyancing process and solicitors are not exactly well known for their speedy nature as it is, so a complication such as an unobtained grant of probate may make the conveyancing process even harder. Equally concerning, many solicitors commence the conveyancing process on behalf of clients having quoted an hourly rate – complications with regards to getting hold of the grant of probate may not only slow the conveyancing process down but may well end up resulting in higher charges.

 

The grant of probate is a document issued by the probate registry and as mentioned above, can have a big impact on the conveyancing process. For this reason it is always advisable to enquire early on in the conveyancing process or when considering making an offer on a property whether or not it has been obtained.

What is The NewBuy Scheme and will it work? | Sunday, April 1st, 2012

There has been a lot of talk amongst local and online conveyancing firms as well as the wider public, about the governments latest attempts to kick-start the struggling housing market, the NewBuy scheme. Even with lower purchase costs thanks to the growth of online conveyancing, the credit crunch has hit the housing market hard and with wide-spread redundancies and harder economic times, the UK has seen a huge increase in the number of people defaulting on the mortgage. The banks natural reaction to this was to stop lending and the online conveyancing companies that only recently set-up found themselves without clients, with banks often requiring a deposit of as much as 30-40%.

 

As any well informed online conveyancing solicitor will tell you, the average house price in the UK is over £200,000 so the banks high deposit requirements meant that even with the cheap online conveyancing services making it easier than ever, only those with large amounts of available capital were able to get a mortgage. This has contributed to online conveyancing solicitors driving down costs, knowing that even those who would normally be keen to use a local firm could be tempted to use their online conveyancing service in such difficult times. But with hundreds of new build houses lying vacant and construction companies halting projects (and subsequently laying off staff) until the existing properties are sold, the government have stepped in to try and encourage the banks to start lending more leniently.

 

You may have seen in the news or through online conveyancing sites, the governments solution to this problem is the NewBuy scheme. The NewBuy scheme involves a loan guarantee to encourage the major banks to start offering mortgages again on new build properties, with a much lower deposit level – in this case as little as 5%. Under the rules of the new scheme, property developers who have these empty properties will pay the lender 3.5% of the purchase price of the property whilst the government will put up a further 5.5% as a guarantee – but will only pay out this amount should there be a further drop in house prices. This means the banks  they can now afford to give out much larger mortgages with a much lower level of risk, as they can rest assured that should the property need to be repossessed, they would not lose money.

 

Critics have suggested that in reality this isn’t a scheme to help potential homeowners but rather the developers who have so many empty properties. Whichever way you look at it, this hasn’t helped the online conveyancing solicitors who had launched their online conveyancing platforms shortly before the recession, as many developers will have their own local law firm deal with the process rather than allowing homebuyers to choose their own local or online conveyancing solicitors. These online conveyancing firms have however seen improved figures, with many customers turning against the traditional solicitors and choosing cheaper online conveyancing solicitors. As online conveyancing firms are generally cheaper than local ones and the economic crisis hitting homebuyers hard, online conveyancing solicitors have become a popular alternative.