The purchase of a house is still likely to be the most significant financial transaction that most of us will be involved in during our lifetime. As if this thought is not intimidating enough, we’re told that the conveyancing process can be one of the most stressful experiences we’re liable to encounter.
Whether you are a first time buyer, are making your way up the property ladder or selling the family home to downsize to something smaller each transaction will have its own unique circumstances and timings. Despite this DMC know that there are several key points to remember to help you enjoy a stress free move:-
Find the right solicitor
This one might sound obvious but all good conveyancing solicitors will share these traits:-
- They’re someone you can work with -as the person co-ordinating the whole process on your behalf you will want to find a solicitor who you can trust, who you can build a rapport with.
- They’re good communicators – they need to be able to explain sometime complex legal requirements and to relay developments in a clear, calm and friendly way. These traits will also pay dividends in their dealings with your agent, lenders and the other side.
- They’re specialists – conveyancers are office based and readily available to answer queries. They are seldom (if ever) out of the office at court for extended periods. They will have an extensive knowledge of local properties and will have dealt with properties in the area and, most likely, in the street or development you’re considering (or selling).
- They come recommended – by local estate agents, other solicitors or, most importantly, by happy clients.
- They’re clear on costs – your solicitor should be able to give you clear and comprehensive quotations to allow you to finalise your budget by setting out their costs, VAT, outlays and registration fees and stamp duty. In a competitive market clients often confuse low prices with value for money; don’t make the assumption that cheaper is better. Check that your ‘all-inclusive price’ really is all inclusive and that there are no hidden or additional costs.
- They’re team-players – the best conveyancers work with everyone within the process towards a common goal. Look for creative thinking; realistic time scales; clear requests and instructions. Avoid egos, unpredictability and last minute dramas.
Keep in touch
With your agent, your solicitors, your bank, your removal man and your buyer or seller. The earlier potential problems or delays are identified, the sooner they can be resolved. The sooner you can respond to a query or request for information, the better the chance of a successful, early and stress free move.
Therefore, you should have a clear method of communication; email, mobile, work number. Let people know if you’re out of contact for a couple of days. Nothing spooks the other side more than being told that their buyer/purchaser can’t be contacted without any explanation. Demonstrate how keen you are to complete by making sure that you keep in contact with your team throughout the process.
As house sales as a process rely on the exchange of standard form information and documentation you can increase your chance of a prompt and calm exchange by having the following to hand when selling:
- Your mortgage account number to allow your deeds to be requested from your lender;
- Early replies to Pre-Contract Enquiries
- Your completed Fixture and Fittings List
- Any planning approvals for garages, extensions, alterations, new builds
- Building Control certificates (passing of plans, completion certificates
- Consent to discharge for septic tanks
- Guarantees or warranties for windows, cavity wall insulation
- electric and gas safety certificate
If buying :
- Your mortgage offer
- Your deposit/balance purchase monies
- Your survey
Once in contract sort out removals, disconnection or installation of services and serving notice on rented property as soon possible to clear the way to completion. Last minute panics are the last thing you need as the big day approaches!
Delays will happen; your lender; their lender; the surveyor, their solicitor, someone further down the chain but things will usually work out. Sometimes the deal just can’t be made and you may have to start again but usually if you (and everyone else in the transaction) remain focussed on solving problems then solutions can usually be found.
Sometimes this will take time and your ideal completion date may slip by but before you pull out of the deal and go back to the drawing board, ask yourself:
‘Which is more important to me – that I insist that I move in for Christmas/Easter/my birthday/before school goes back at the risk of losing the deal OR that I move a little earlier of later than i would ideally like rather than having to start to look all over again’?
Whilst there is a time and place in every transaction for a considered and well timed ultimatum, be careful not to let deadlines become set in stone. On occasions you may need to bring completion forward or push it back to keep a buyer or seller from looking elsewhere. Sometimes a reduction or increase in price needs to be considered, fixtures and fittings re-negotiated. We’re not suggested that you become a push over – just realise that those who can swim with rather than against the tide often experience less pressure!
Enjoy the Process
Listen to the advice given by your team. Trust your instincts. Don’t allow yourself to be pressurised, rushed or bullied (but bear in mind number 5!) and as a consequence you can stay calm and be realistic as to what can be achieved in the time available.
Above all, try to enjoy the process. A new house – a new home, is an exhilarating prospect and the build up of excitement towards the big day can be one of life’s great moments. By picking the right team and bearing the advice above in mind, hopeful you can enjoy a stress free move!