Spring residential sales surge prompts conveyancing advice from Mason Thomas Law
Springtime is expected to drive a market surge of a 17% increase in home sales according to the estate agent comparison site GetAgent.co.uk. With increased sales, comes greater demand for conveyancing services.
To ensure the conveyancing process runs as smoothly as possible, Jo Malcolm, Director and Licensed Conveyancer at Mason Thomas Law has this advice to all purchasers or sellers before they start the process.
- Choose your conveyancer carefully. Ensure you choose a conveyancer that you are able to contact directly. Issues may arise part way through a transaction so being able to have frequent contact with and updates from your conveyancer are key. It’s really important to be able to pick up the phone and speak directly to the person who is undertaking the conveyancing process, rather than a receptionist or assistant. This keeps all parties informed and keeps the process moving. Personal recommendation is always a useful place to start when choosing a conveyancer.
- Have a realistic timescale – Always have a realistic conversation with your conveyancer early on in the process to agree the appropriate practical arrangements. Whilst you may be desperate to move home once you have a sale and purchase agreed, there may be complications or nuances of your transaction that are likely to lead to delays. Whilst delays may be unwelcome, it is far better to be aware of them at the outset in order that you can plan the move appropriately.
- Ensure all fees are transparent – Make sure you are aware from the outset of the full cost of your conveyancing. Conveyancers are legally obliged to display their fees on their website. Ensure that you check that any quote received includes potentially hidden ‘add-ons’, for example some firms charge an additional fee for dealing with a stamp duty land tax return on a purchase, or dealing with Land Registry applications even though such services are almost always required. The Mason Thomas Law fee scale can be found here.
- Be wary of exclusivity payments –We have seen an increase in the use of such payments in recent years, often dealt with by estate agents before a buyer has had the opportunity to take independent legal advice. An exclusivity deposit is paid by the buyer as soon as their offer is accepted on a property. If you choose to pay one, do not hand over the deposit unless there is a proper legal agreement in place, and you have first received advice from your conveyancer. Should the sale fall through and there is no agreement in place, you are highly unlikely to receive a refund of the deposit even if the circumstances surrounding your withdrawal from the transaction are due to an adverse issue with the property.
- Consider Stamp Duty – Understand your Stamp Duty (SDLT) position before you commit to the purchase. If you own a second property (and this could be anywhere in the world) you are liable to pay an increased amount – currently this is 3% on top of SDLT rates. Learn more about Stamp Duty rates here. Whilst conveyancers traditionally submit an SDLT return on behalf of a buyer on completion of a purchase, taking advice from your accountant at an early stage will ensure that you are fully aware of your SDLT liability before you commit to proceeding to purchase.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, speak to our conveyancing team today to find out how they can help. As well as being a property law specialist and having extensive experience in property transaction, Mason Thomas Law is also regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Call us on 0114 2945 360 or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can learn more about Mason Thomas Law’s residential property services here.