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Buying a property can be a confusing business, especially for the first time buyer. There are is a multitude of technical terms and it can be difficult to understand what is happening in a case without good conveyancing advice.
Even experienced buyers can easily get into quite a mess if they try to cut the solicitor out of the picture and go it alone. There are many unusual circumstances that can arise during the property buying and selling process, and it is therefore very important to use a person who is properly and fully qualified to deal with such matters. It is also important to remember to involve a solicitor or licensed conveyancer as early on in the property buying or selling process as you can. The sooner they can begin to look at the circumstances of the properties in question, the better they can advise you, and the sooner they can spot potential problems.
Once you have instructed a solicitor, you will be able to get conveyancing advice as part of their service. It usually takes one email or telephone call to get this good conveyancing advice but it is often required before you instruct a solicitor so that you can get some idea of what is involved.
When getting a quote, you can usually get some basic conveyancing advice from the person giving out the quote. They will be able to advise you on the basics without any trouble. However, if you need more in depth advice about your conveyancing, they may be reluctant to do so without first gaining your instructions ie you agreeing to actually use them for the legal work. Solicitors are well aware that some people will call for conveyancing advice with little or no intention of using that firm for the legal work. So it is a balancing act to get a reasonable amount of conveyancing advice before agreeing to instruct that legal firm.
You may also find that the person giving you a quote at the outset is not fully qualified to give out conveyancing advice so you should bear this in mind when talking to them. Once you agree to use the firm of course, and you are a client, you will be able to get as much reliable conveyancing help and information as you need, at no extra cost.
Some people will ask their Estate Agent for some general guidelines to the legal side of buying or selling. Great care must be taken here as some Estate Agents only have a very basic understanding of the process. There are many stories of buyers and sellers acting on conveyancing information given out by such companies and living to regret it later. A common problem can occur when a first time buyer is ill advised by an Estate Agent keen to sell a property. If you are in any doubt, you should instruct a solicitor before you buy or sell so that you can check on any conveyancing advice given by the Estate Agent. Difficult areas that may need exploration and explanation can include rights of way, extending properties, trees with preservation orders and search results.
There is only one way of being sure and that is to speak to your solicitor. Getting quality conveyancing help from the correct source can save you a lot of time and money at the outset. For example, while most flats for sale are leasehold, some can be freehold. On the face of it, this is not a problem but if you buy such a property, you may find that there are problems in getting money out of the other flat owners if there is a problem with the structure of the building eg if the roof needs fixing. An early conversation with your solicitor will give you the pros and cons of buying such a property and you can then make a decision whether or not to proceed with any purchase based on solid conveyancing advice.
Author: Terry Davies
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