What Can Estate Agents Do To Assist Conveyancers
There is sometimes a disconnect between what the Estate Agent wants to happen and what the Conveyancer needs to proceed. It can then be difficult to remember that we must work together to achieve completion.
A Conveyancing matter is by definition a contentious one and stressful for all involved.
Parties within the process are coming from different places and each has their own focus. Unfortunately these may not always align.
But what can Estate Agents do to help the process:
Issue Accurate Memorandum of Sale
The Memorandum of Sale lists the parties names, Conveyancer details, price agreed and any fixtures and Fittings for sale. It is vital the parties full names, including middle names, are provided. Errors in the Memorandum result in the seller’s Conveyancer issuing incorrect correspondence, typographical errors in draft contract papers, enquiries being raised and contracts redrawn. At this point ID checks may not be concluded and the Conveyancer relies on the details within the Estate Agent’s Memorandum.
Providing Particulars of Sale & Photographs
This is a document with photos and a floor plan. It lists the number of rooms and property features. Proving this ensures both sides are aware of alterations. This saves time later and avoids unnecessary enquiries.
Checking the Property has a Valid EPC
They are valid for 10 years. Ask the seller to arrange a new one where necessary. For EPC status check the online government register:
Getting Property Tenure Right & Ensuring Management Packs Are On Order
Is the property freehold or leasehold? Leaseholds are far more complex and time-consuming. It is not always obvious and missing this early on results in delays down the line. Where Leasehold ensure the seller contacts the Management Company and Freeholder to order Leasehold Management Packs (LPE1). There may be two packs. One covers Ground Rent and the other Service Charges. The buyer’s Conveyancer will not be able to complete without the packs. They can take months to arrive.
Even with Freehold properties there can be a Service Charge for maintenance of communal areas as councils no longer adopt these. Again a pack is needed. Address this as soon as possible.
Getting Property Extent Right
Property can be registered at HM Land Registry under several title numbers or parcels of land. This could be one parcel of land for the house and another for the garden. If this is missed it means the seller’s Conveyancer could be unaware when issuing the Draft Contract Pack. Consequently the buyer’s Conveyancer, will receive a defective Draft Contract Pack and order searches that don’t cover all the land. A second set of searches will be required and the buyer will pay twice for searches. An unnecessary expense for the buyer. If the seller mentions anything about acquiring an additional piece of land advise both Conveyancers.
You are regulated and required to obtain satisfactory ID so why not provide this to the conveyancer to speed matters up. Buyers and sellers are often frustrated with having to provide ID over and over again to various parties. Ensure that you verify and have stamped as certified the copies of ID.
Attending the Property
Remember that the Conveyancer does not attend the property. If there are obvious alterations then address these with the seller to ensure they locate all the structural guarantees, invoices, warranties, planning permissions and building regulations certificates. This avoids delays later on.
If the seller mentions probate being required, or that they are selling on behalf of a deceased family member, check that they already hold probate as otherwise the probate application can take more than six months to complete. Obvious delays and frustration ensue.
Conveyancer Due Diligence & Compliance
Conveyancers are incredibly heavily regulated with time-consuming compliance. It is frustrating to all parties, including the Conveyancer. Pressuring conveyancers will not be helpful as their hands are tied. No Conveyancer, or law firm, will risk regulatory intervention or removal from lender panel because parties are dismayed at the delay.
Source of Funds (Buyers)
Help the Conveyancer by making sure the buyer understands the intrusive requirement to provide Source of Funds evidence. This means a full paper trail evidencing the same and not just where funds are held but how the were acquired. The government implemented these requirements. It is not conveyancers being pedantic.
Indemnity Insurance & Title Defects
Not all title defects can be covered with indemnity insurance. It depends on the defect. Remember that Indemnity insurance does not solve the defect it just insures it. There is also no guarantee that a claim under indemnity insurance would be successful.
Allow Conveyancers sufficient time to action correspondence, emails and calls. Post will be dealt with in date order of receipt. It is impossible to instantly action all letters, calls and emails received due to the sheer volume.
Chasing constantly actually slows Conveyancers down as they cannot get to the file and are waylaid with telephone calls or emails.
The above list is meant to be helpful and is not a criticism of Estate Agents. We can all do our bit to improve the Conveyancing experience.