The list is endless, but of those which conveyancers witness, here are 5 which occur more frequently:
1. Failing to agree a timescale when agreeing price. As a result, you can hardly blame one side if the process takes longer than you thought it would, as neither party had a realistic understanding of each other’s agenda over dates. Indeed, the longer the conveyancing process takes, the higher the chance it collapses, with one party getting cold feet. Conveyancers are often asked weeks into a transaction “what date can I move?”. Something the conveyancer plays not part in deciding, only you and the other party.
2. A poor choice of conveyancer. The quality in the marketplace varies dramatically. Your choice is critical. Were you herded to your conveyancer by your estate agent, having been spun a convincing line of how easy using their choice would be and you let them set it all up? Fatal. Or, perhaps more sensibly, you took their recommendation, and approached the conveyancing firm direct to make your own enquiries, along with a handful of others. Overlooking the key question by being preoccupied with securing the cheapest quote? The key question being “Are you a solicitor or chartered legal executive?”. Home movers rarely ask that question when seeking a conveyancing quote; making an assumption that they must be – but in fact they rarely are. Quite possibly a low level of legal training will of course mean less instant decision making/legal advice, and slowing down at key stages, even the grinding to a halt if complicated legal issues arise.
3. Defective title deeds. Only a conveyancer will know if your deeds are defective. If they are, they were also caused/permitted by the conveyancer, when you bought. This is linked to your choice of conveyancer. What did they miss? As part of the selling process, instructing your conveyancer too late means that they have little time to examine your deeds at the start, and will leave the discovery of defects to the buyer’s conveyancer, weeks in the process, and quite possibly causing the collapse of the deal. Instructing early means the selling conveyancer can spend time – though even with time, the less dynamic conveyancer will still fail to look at your deeds. It is surprising how many conveyancers allow their selling clients to complete enquiry forms and simply forward them on to the buyer’s conveyancer without a second glance. That is a breach of a solicitors duty to act in the best interests of their clients. The same for chartered legal executives.
4. Paying by cheque. Few buyers now pay with a cheque, consistent with the attitude of retailers in general. With clearance times taking up to 5-7 days, that is a sizeable chunk of time all parties have to wait for if the only delay is “sorry we cannot exchange today as my client used a cheque, not a same day cleared bank transfer”.
5. Delay in applying for a mortgage. Receipt by the conveyancer of their client’s mortgage offer is very high on the list of likely delays. The delay can happen for a multitude of reasons but weeks and weeks can go by, being a grave threat to the whole deal. Apply early, and have available all likely financial information.