The buying process - where does my conveyancer come in?

What exactly does your conveyancer do? Pic:

What exactly does your conveyancer do? Pic: - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What exactly does your conveyancer do? Sally Yaxley, from Spire solicitors, discusses.

Sally Yaxley, Spire solicitors

Sally Yaxley, Spire solicitors

Q) When do I need to pay my conveyancer?

Your conveyancer will initially need some money on account for searches and disbursements; usually a few hundred pounds. Your deposit (generally 10 per cent of the purchase price) is payable just prior to exchange of contracts. Your conveyancer will then prepare a completion statement prior to completion which will include all receipts and payments, such as SDLT, Land Registry fees and your legal fees. You will need to ensure that the balance is with your conveyancer in cleared funds before completion can take place.

Q) Do I need a survey?

A survey will look at the physical condition of the property and highlight physical defects or maintenance requirements. There are various types of surveys and a surveyor can advise on the most suitable. If you are buying with a mortgage, your lender will instruct a 'Valuation Survey' which is only for their protection. We always recommend surveys to buyers because an expert is able to comment on the physical condition of the property which is something conveyancers cannot do.

Q) What will the Local Authority Search reveal?

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Clients often think this search will reveal neighbourhood changes such as a new housing estate planned to be built nearby. However, the local search does not disclose such issues and will only reveal matters directly relating to the property you are buying.

It is possible to carry out a further search, which will reveal nearby planning applications and other matters affecting the neighbourhood, including information about local schools and crime statistics. You can also speak to the local planning officer about planned development that has not yet reached the formal planning stage, and they can advise whether that field at the rear is zoned for future development or not. Of course, you can never say never with planning, as policies can change over time, but he will be able to give you a good idea of how safe your view is at least for the time being.

Q) What information does the seller have to provide?

The seller's Property Information Form should disclose planned development in the area that the seller is aware of, or any neighbour disputes, but it is much better to find out about such things beforehand than to have to try to claim misrepresentation against your seller afterwards.

If you would like to discuss any points in this article further, please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077 for all your legal needs.

This is not a complete statement of the law and you should always seek professional legal advice.

Spire solicitors has sponsored this column.