Q. What is Conveyancing?
A. Conveyancing is the name given to the legal process involved in buying and selling property. Conveyancing does not just cover standard sales and purchases. It can also cover the process involved in transferring a property from one person to another, a remortgage of a property or even a lease extension.
Q. How long will my freehold sale or purchase transaction take?
A. It is difficult to give an accurate time estimate in conveyancing transactions due to the many variables involved. However, we estimate that a sale or purchase of a Freehold property will take approximately 8 weeks to reach the stage where contracts can be exchanged from receipt of the contract pack by the purchaser's solicitor. These are of course estimates only and cannot be relied upon as often delays can be experienced especially when there is a chain involved. The completion date is dependent upon each person's requirements within 'the chain' including their ability to secure removals.
Q. How long will my leasehold sale or purchase transaction take?
A. It can sometimes be longer for Leasehold properties, normally around 10 weeks until contracts can be exchanged from receipt of the contract pack by the purchaser’s solicitor. These are of course estimates only and cannot be relied upon as often delays can be experienced especially when there is a chain involved. Please be aware that as we need to liaise with the freeholder and/or Management company, delays could occur if the information is not forthcoming quickly .
Q. Do you offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ service?
A. We feel that a 'no sale, no fee' service conflicts us from providing the best service possible to our clients. If we feel that a transaction is not viable for any reason we will advise you of this, no matter what point the transaction has reached. We start work on your matter as soon as we receive your initial instructions and all work is carried out by your conveyancer as quickly as possible.
Q. Will my matter be allocated to a solicitor or conveyancer from the outset?
A. Yes. Your initial point of contact within the firm will usually be the person who will act for you throughout. Our conveyancers are supported by assistants and you may also speak to them from time to time. We try not to change the person who has conduct of your transaction but if we do find that we need to we will notify you as soon as possible.
Q. Do you pay referral fees?
A. No. We do not pay referral fees to estate agents or other parties involved in the conveyancing process. You should ask your estate agent if they are being paid to refer you to a certain law firm if they recommend another firm to you. If they are, you may conclude that you would prefer not to be "sold" by your estate agents and come to an independent firm whose sole objective is to act in your best interests.
Q. Do you offer a fixed price?
A. We provide a price estimate at the outset of the transaction together with a detailed breakdown of the disbursements (monies payable to third parties) which may be incurred in your transaction. We will honour this fixed price to provide our clients with certainty throughout their transaction. We do not add on further fees and you should check any quotations you receive carefully for any mention of added fees. A member of our Residential Property Team will be happy to look through your quotes with you.
Q. Will I get to meet my solicitor or conveyancer?
A. Absolutely! We strive to ensure that we provide a personal service. As part of our commitment to quality, excellence and expertise, we request that we meet all of our clients. This has the advantage to our clients that we carry out our own identification formalities as referred to below. Pinney Talfourd has been a familiar name on the high streets of Essex for years as our clients know that we are a firm who are dedicated in supporting our clients for life.
Q. Will I have to pay another firm to complete identification formalities?
A. We ask that we meet all of our clients and therefore we carry out our own identification formalities. We do this as part of the role of your conveyancer and as part of our duty to you, any lender and also Land Registry. We will provide you with further information about the identification formalities in our initial documentation to you.
Q. What do the terms exchange and completion mean?
A. Exchange of contracts is the significant point in the conveyancing process when buying or selling a property. Until such time as contracts are exchanged, neither the buyer nor seller is legally bound to the transaction and either is free to withdraw without penalty. This is why, even when an offer is accepted, you will normally see the term "subject to contract".
In both sale and purchase transactions, shortly before we believe we will be in a position to exchange contracts, we will obtain your signatures to your part of the contract but signing the same does not bind you to the contract. The contract will only become legally binding on both parties once the formal process of exchange has taken place between the solicitors acting for both parties.
Upon exchange of contracts, a completion date is agreed between the parties and entered into the contract at which point the completion date becomes binding on both parties. The completion date is the date upon which the purchase monies change hands via the solicitors and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.
Q. When is the deposit paid?
A. If you are purchasing a property we will normally request the deposit monies from you when we obtain your signature to the contract in readiness for exchange.
Contracts in England and Wales provide for a deposit of 10% of the purchase price to be paid upon exchange. Sometimes a lesser deposit than 10% of the purchase price is available but if the seller of the property accepts this it does not mean that this is all you will have to pay. If for instance you breach the contract and do not complete the purchase the balance of the 10% deposit will be due from you.
If you are selling a property, the deposit is normally received by us from your buyer's solicitors following exchange of contracts. However, due to the terms of the contract, we must hold the deposit monies in our client account until such time as completion of the sale has formally taken place. This safeguards the buyers in the event that you withdraw from the sale of the property and breach the contract as the deposit will have to be returned to the buyers.
Q. Do I still need an Energy Performance Certificate?
A. Although the government removed the need for a Home Information Pack, one of the elements from the pack that still remains necessary is the provision by the seller of an Energy Performance Certificate.
The Certificate should be obtained by the seller prior to marketing the property and provided to the buyer or buyer's solicitors during the course of the transaction or on request.
The Energy Performance Certificate is a record of the current energy efficiency of a property and the potential energy efficiency of the property if measures were taken to improve this. Each certificate is valid for a period of 10 years so if you purchase a property and sell it within a short space of time, you will normally be able to reuse the Certificate that you acquired when you purchased the property. If you have had any works carried out to the property or entered into a Green Deal you will need to instruct an assessor to update the energy performance certificate
If you are selling your property via an estate agent, they will normally arrange the Energy Performance Certificate on your behalf for a fee. If you are privately selling your property, you can contact various organisations to arrange for the Energy Performance Certificate to be produced and we can put you in contact with such organisations if you need us to. Please see the website www.epcregister.com
for further information and contacts.