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I’ve found my Dream Home but why is it taking so long to Exchange and Complete?

Conveyancing law scroll solicitorsInterview with a conveyancing expert on why it takes so long to Exchange and Complete.

You’ve found your ideal home, had the offer accepted and now want to get going and book your removals van. However the house purchase process takes time and we often get asked ‘what is taking so long’ to get to exchange and completion.

The conveyancing process is often viewed a mysterious art that only the solicitors can follow and house purchasers are kept in the dark.

We met with Janine and Ingmar from Leigh Duncan Solicitors to uncover the mystery behind the process.

Janine – Partner

Ingmar – Partner

First Steps

Janine mentions we always recommend that you speak to and instruct a solicitor before finding a home. Information gathering is a large part of the initial stages for all house purchases and if you are ahead of the game, with your solicitor already on board, it will speed up the process. This includes obtaining:

• Proof of Identity
• Proof of origin of funds (to comply with money laundering legislation)
• Mortgage offer

Most solicitors, and certainly Leigh Duncan, meet their clients and ask for approx. £400 up front for searches etc and to set up bank account details to avoid the increasing risk of cybercrime on the day of completion.

The Wait

Leigh Duncan try to get as much information and due diligence achieved up front so often the wait is as a result of the other side gathering their documentation. The fixtures and fittings forms from the sellers take time to complete and as do any building regulations, certificates for extensions, windows etc.

The mortgage provider also requires copies of all the certificates too. If a property is close to HS2 for example additional searches will also be required.
The Chase

Your conveyancing team will look for gaps in the seller’s package and make sure that all documentation is in place. This is called ‘raising enquiries’. Given it is ‘buyer beware’ with all house purchases it is your solicitor’s job to make sure that you have all possible information available.

Classically when there is a lull in proceedings buyers are told that ‘the searches’ are taking time but there are now a number of search providers who can return a search in as little as a week. Areas that will typically need chasing include:

• Missing planning permission documents
• Tree Preservation Orders
• Lack of building regulation documentation

The MoneyMoney in the shape of house

All monies need to be in place with the solicitor for the day of completion. Origin of all funds will also need to be confirmed. An indemnity insurance policy will also cover the lender if a gift sum is involved and will need to be put in place for a fee. Some mortgage lenders will attach conditions such as needing to have a credit card paid off before the money can be transferred.

The Hiccups

Sometimes with a long chain it takes time for funds to flow through and CHAPS payments can take all day. Solicitors are often waiting for one payment in the chain to arrive before being able to instruct completion for the whole chain. Taking out Removals Insurance is wise in case your completion happens late and the removal van is forced to return to the depot (like lorry drivers they have set hours that they are permitted to operate).

The Unusual

Janine said that they often have some interesting twists and turns during the conveyancing process…One lady asked for their contract to have a clause whereby her buyer was obliged to feed the wild tortoise that she had become attached to. Contractually this was not possible but a kind visit from the buyer assured the lady that the tortoise would be well cared for!

On another occasion, on the day of completion during heavy snowfall, the buyer’s removal van was able to make it to the property ready to unload but the vendor’s removal van got stuck leaving the property. The rightful owners arrived to find the vendors stranded at the house. The solution? The buyers said you take the top floor for the night and we will take downstairs!

Leigh Duncan

Leigh Duncan pride themselves on being personally available to contact by phone at all stages of the process. They also have excellent links with all the local estate agents meaning that they all help each other out to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible. Their proactive approach in getting all documentation in place ‘ahead of the game’ means that they are in a strong position from the start to get your house purchase over the finishing line.

For more information please contact Janine Heil on 01494 578040 or email enquiries@leighduncan.co.uk
Website www.leighduncan.co.uk
Twitter @LeighDuncanSol

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