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Doing my own conveyancing
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# 1
Andy-roo
Old 21-05-2009, 10:24 PM
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Question Doing my own conveyancing

I read a book by a 'Michael joseph' recently called 'The Conveyancing Fraud' its an old edition but made me want to do my own conveyancing on a house i'm buying. Has anybody done so in the last six months or so that could suggest where i can get the forms from, the processes that need to be taken and if there is any new legalislation that has changed that will allow me not to do so.
Thankyou.
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# 2
chickmug
Old 22-05-2009, 8:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy-roo View Post
I read a book by a 'Michael joseph' recently called 'The Conveyancing Fraud' its an old edition but made me want to do my own conveyancing on a house i'm buying. Has anybody done so in the last six months or so that could suggest where i can get the forms from, the processes that need to be taken and if there is any new legalislation that has changed that will allow me not to do so.
Thankyou.
As a retired agent if you came to my firm offering to buy and I knew you would be doing your own conveyancing I would recommend to the seller they did not sell to you.

Now and again we had people say they would do their own conveyancing and there was only the odd one that succeeded in getting through the process. Even that person kept consulting the other solicitor in the chain.
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# 3
Hippychick
Old 22-05-2009, 9:18 AM
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If you are buying or selling with a mortgage you can't do it yourself. Your lender requires a solicitor to act for them as well as you.

Furthermore many other solicitors will be reluctant to deal with you because it is extremely tricky effecting an exchange and completion with non conveyancers, also how do you know you won't c0ck it up and miss something in the deeds or search results.

A house purchase is one of the biggest financial transactions you will ever make, do you really want to risk having future legal problems for the sake of a couple of hundred quid?


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# 4
tbs624
Old 22-05-2009, 9:38 AM
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Recommend reading The Practical Approach to Conveyancing by Abbey/Richards ( used on Legal Practice Courses). Forms can be obtained from the Land Registry, the RICS and Oyez legal stationers (oyez.co.uk).

You could perhaps look at the option of doing the work yourself and paying a set fee to a solicitor to check it through. Lenders *may* insist that you use a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
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# 5
zcacmxi
Old 22-05-2009, 9:41 AM
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Quotes of up to 1000 including the VAT make people consider doing their own conveyancing.

However, when you can get it done for about 300 with the online firms, it seems less worth it.

For my first house purchase I went with a tradional local solictor, who charged me 1200 for conveyancing. The service was slow, and I had to visit the solicitors office once.

Subsequently, I've used Lees Lloyds Whitley in the to Buy & Sell and Fidler & Pepper for a sale. The charges were 50% cheaper than the traditional solicitors, and I found the service to be faster and more efficient. I also did not have to take a day off work to visit, as it's all done through the post.

I'd check http://www.web-conveyancing.co.uk/ for a quote, and go with one with some decent feedback!
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# 6
G_M
Old 22-05-2009, 10:27 AM
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I used 'The Conveyancing Fraud' to buy my 1st property in 1981. Easy. But the book is now very out of date. Browse the library for one of several modern equivellants.

Since then I've bought 4 properties, some with some without mortgages, and always done it myself. saved 1000s.

Quote:
If you are buying or selling with a mortgage you can't do it yourself. Your lender requires a solicitor to act for them as well as you.
Partly true. The lender will appoint a solicitor to arrange the mortgage, you can still do the conveyancing (house purchase) yourself.

The economics of this are : if one solicitor does both, they charge a bit less than each element being done separately by solicitors. So doing the conveyancing yourself is still cheaper but only a bit as you still have to pay for the mortgage legal work.

These days as zcacmxi says, there are cheap online firms, so the saving may not be worth the stress/hastle if you still have to pay towards the mortgage work.

However, check their costs carefully: Does the 300 include the mortgage work? searches etc, disbursements? You may find the final bill has lots of 'extras' so get a clear cost breakdown when comparing firms.

Quote:
As a retired agent if you came to my firm offering to buy and I knew you would be doing your own conveyancing I would recommend to the seller they did not sell to you.
Rubbish. I've had a few raised eyebrows but never had a problem. In the end, a sale is a sale.

Above all, conveyancing is not rocket science. However you need to be reasonably intelligent, very methodical (it's basically a step-by step process) and willing to call an expert if you hit a problem (unlikely, but by following the steps, you'll know if a problem arises).

A lease on a flat is much more complicated - be careful if it is not a house (freehold).

Quote:
Furthermore many other solicitors will be reluctant to deal with you because it is extremely tricky effecting an exchange and completion with non conveyancers
Raised eyebrows again. You may need to attend their offices in person so check where they are.

Quote:
how do you know you won't c0ck it up and miss something in the deeds or search results.
VERY unlikely - as long as you follow all steps, read everything carefully, and are intelligent enough to understand what you're reading. 98% of Deeds/searches are standard and self explanatory if you have a good book to follow. With the 2% others (eg unexpected mortgages showing on the deeds; unregistered properties - not many these days; country estates with complex rights-of-way over the land etc), then see a solicitor.

In most cases tho, it's a straightforward, though stressfull process - but educational and very satisfying.

Good luck whatever you decide!
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# 7
AdrianW2
Old 22-05-2009, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by zcacmxi View Post
However, when you can get it done for about 300 with the online firms, it seems less worth it.
The reason I'd consider doing my own conveyancing in the future is not for cost but for quality of service. My recent experience with solicitors has left me very disappointed.

For example the vendors of our house answered one of the queries with a response that meant the house would need circa 6000 of work doing on it in the next few years. The solicitor didn't bother mentioning that to me and I only noticed because I read the paper upside down on his desk.
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# 8
terryw
Old 22-05-2009, 10:39 AM
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Over the years, I have bought and sold about fifty houses without using a solicitor. If there is no mortgage involved it really is a doddle. However with the change to "electronic" deeds it is very difficult for practical reasons to DIY without using a conveyancer or solicitor. In any case, you would have to pay the lender's legal fees anyway. Far better to go to a cheap and cheery firm who specialize in conveyancing, as their total fees will be less than the fees charged by a lender's solicitor who WILL overcharge you.

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# 9
terryw
Old 22-05-2009, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by chickmug View Post
As a retired agent if you came to my firm offering to buy and I knew you would be doing your own conveyancing I would recommend to the seller they did not sell to you.

Now and again we had people say they would do their own conveyancing and there was only the odd one that succeeded in getting through the process. Even that person kept consulting the other solicitor in the chain.
Oh dear me Chickmug. Buyers are like hen's teeth at the moment, and you would seriously take action to cause a sale not to proceed? If I was the client of an agent like you I would take my busines elsewhere and report you to all and sundry.

Would you care for me to tell you about all the !!!!-ups and delays and stupidity and libels that I have encountered with conveyancing solicitors over the years? I could write a book - if anything Michael Joseph (God bless him) understated the problem.

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# 10
terryw
Old 22-05-2009, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Hippychick View Post
If you are buying or selling with a mortgage you can't do it yourself. Your lender requires a solicitor to act for them as well as you.

Furthermore many other solicitors will be reluctant to deal with you because it is extremely tricky effecting an exchange and completion with non conveyancers, also how do you know you won't c0ck it up and miss something in the deeds or search results.

A house purchase is one of the biggest financial transactions you will ever make, do you really want to risk having future legal problems for the sake of a couple of hundred quid?
Agree absolutely with your first sentence but you are following the rather silly party line with the rest of your post. Might I give a short answer to your points?

1. Solicitors reluctant to deal with you. Does any solicitor turn down work where money is involved? Where solicitors have been tricky with me in the past, I have been even more tricky with them! They soon stop such nonsense, believe me!

2. Missing something in the deeds conjures up the nonsensical vision of some guy pondering through the night searching old parchments. Not so as we have a thing called the Land Registry and deeds are almost a thing of the past now.

3. Cocking it up. Look at the case law involving !!!!-ups. It is always solicitors who have cocked it up not DIYers.

4. Biggest transaction of you life etc etc etc. I started DIYing because I had just bought a Datsun 120y car, paid the dealer the pennies and drove it away. A quick phone call to a solicitor to get an estimate for the purchase of run-down cottage costing less than the 120y produced a figure of 200. The law involved in buying a car is far more complicated than the law in buying a house, but boy oh boy, solicitors would love a monopoly on car buying as well!

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# 11
terryw
Old 22-05-2009, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianW2 View Post
The reason I'd consider doing my own conveyancing in the future is not for cost but for quality of service. My recent experience with solicitors has left me very disappointed.
Very well said Adrian. A solicitor probably has 80 or 100 cases on the go at any one time. He can't give the individual attention that you yourself can. Apart from anything else by DIYing you remain in control of the whole situation and know exactly what is happening.

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# 12
G_M
Old 22-05-2009, 12:37 PM
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Actually, one of the biggest challenges is getting timely, acurate and comprehensive responses from the other side's solicitor and/or agent.

Endless chasing of them to respond to you, while you can turn round their queries same day.....

As has been said, they are dealing with so many purchases, and often rely on inexperienced clerks to do most of the work anyway!

BTW - you'll often learn much more about the property and its skelatons by a) spending real time in it, looking at everything, not just the 2 x 15 minute viewings most people do and b) talking to neigbours, postman, kids in the street etc.

Not a complete substitute for the official searches etc, but frankly replies to most Searches & Enquiries solicitors give each other are so standardised as to tell you almost zilch.
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# 13
terryw
Old 22-05-2009, 1:40 PM
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GM, you are a man after my own heart! I concur absolutely with all you say.

It is also a very good idea to visit the nearest pub during the day (quite an enjoyable task anyway!) and chat to the old boys there. They will tell you far more than the council searches as the old boys know the rumours and gossip as well as the aproved council plans. Also visit the proposed purchase area at all different times of the day and the week watching out for chavs, unsocial behaviour, parking problems etc etc.

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# 14
AdrianW2
Old 22-05-2009, 2:38 PM
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Originally Posted by G_M View Post
As has been said, they are dealing with so many purchases, and often rely on inexperienced clerks to do most of the work anyway
This does seem to be part of the problem. Some of my solicitor's receptionists seemed to come from the same school as doctor's receptionists and have the same mix of arrogance and incompetence.
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# 15
GDB2222
Old 22-05-2009, 3:46 PM
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I bought/sold about ten properties using Michael Joseph's book as a guide. It all went swimmingly. In the end, though, I started to use a local solicitor who is not too expensive and does a very thorough job.
No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
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# 16
chickmug
Old 22-05-2009, 5:33 PM
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Originally Posted by terryw View Post
Oh dear me Chickmug. Buyers are like hen's teeth at the moment, and you would seriously take action to cause a sale not to proceed? If I was the client of an agent like you I would take my busines elsewhere and report you to all and sundry.

Would you care for me to tell you about all the !!!!-ups and delays and stupidity and libels that I have encountered with conveyancing solicitors over the years? I could write a book - if anything Michael Joseph (God bless him) understated the problem.

terryw
Sorry but after overseeing thousands of sale in my career I stand fully by my comments. All I would add is that when people said they intended to act for themselves we spoke to them at length to make sure they were sure and many crumbled at that point. Some started off and gave up an appointed a solicitor losing time.

As I said it did reach a point where those that tried made cocks ups and had to appoint a solicitor and caused serious delays after which I took my hard line attitude. All my seller clients agreed.

Look this is a public forum and I am telling you what the reality is day to day and good luck to those who can do it. But other posters must be made aware of an agents views.

So let me make my point of view clear and you can make yours and then the readers can decide which way they want to go.

PS I am no fan of many solicitors which we dealt with but didn't find the horrendous tales you say but that could be an area issue. Many who were poor were the 'cheapo' ones and conveyancers.
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# 17
terryw
Old 22-05-2009, 6:05 PM
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Thanks chickmug.

We do disagree. Ok, you have seen thousands of sales but how many of these were where a DIYer was involved? Very very few I would imagine.

Might I give just one example? The last house I sold was bog-standard registered terrace with no mortgage to repay. A doddle for the solicitor for the purchaser.
But no, he starts by writing to his client stating that it is against the law for me to deal with the clerical procedures involved in selling my own house. What a load of old cobblers! Two points emerge here. Firstly, as a solicitor he has no knowledge of the law, particularly the part where he is meant to be an expert, secondly, terryw takes great exception to being called a criminal and lawbreaker when he reached the autumn of his life without a blemish to his name. I retaliated to the second point by letting the client know all about the said solicitors' delays as and when they happened with the net result that said solicitor has lost a client and the whole of the purchaser's particular community will not use him either.

As delays continued, I took this up with the estate agent to chase him up. The estate agent bear in mind is acting for me, and whilst they were apologetic they were resigned to the fact that many solicitors (including this one) were very poor.

Even at the last minute, the solicitor tried to deduct the estate agents' fee from the proceeds of sale! Cheeky begger! Told hin this was theft and I would report it to the police. It is for me to pay my own bills not for a solicitor supposedy acting for the purchaser to take this upon himself presumably to add another item to the bill.

I can only reiterate that by DIYing you can keep in control and reduce the solicitors' nonsense and delays.

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# 18
chickmug
Old 22-05-2009, 6:13 PM
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Hi terryw

Not a case of disagreeing but most of my posts on this forum have been trying to help out especially against bad agents trying to rip people off on dodgy terms. Just trying to make poeple realise they need to think it (DIY conveyancing) through then ask the question can they do it.

Also they may come across an agent like my firm - after all we are there to act in the sellers best interests not that it would appear all agents do on reading some of the posts.

I fully respect your opinion and feel few agents would of been like my firm so it may not be that big a problem. Although I suspect some of the solicitors, where there is a chain, may have something to say. Also if there is a chain and the various agents check out all links there may well be resistance at other points in the chain. So it may/could cause problems so readers, of the forum, need to be aware - hence my words so far?
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# 19
tbs624
Old 22-05-2009, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by chickmug View Post
...Although I suspect some of the solicitors, where there is a chain, may have something to say. Also if there is a chain and the various agents check out all links there may well be resistance at other points in the chain. So it may/could cause problems so readers, of the forum, need to be aware - hence my words so far?
Solicitors, like many other professionals, don't like to feel their toes are being stepped on and that's more likely to be the reason for any resistance. I dunno, the barristers didn't like it when solicitors got to play more in the courts, the solicitors didn't much care for the legal execs snapping at their heels and then there's the licensed conveyancers and now little jonnny nobody thinks he can do a good job with the conveyancing without even a license to his name.......when will it all end?

Seriously , I take your point Chickmug that there will some who *think* that they are up to doing their own conveyancing and they come unstuck but if someone prepares themselves properly there is every chance that they will be equally as efficient as your average local solicitor, if not more so.

Last edited by tbs624; 22-05-2009 at 10:03 PM.
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# 20
tbs624
Old 22-05-2009, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by terryw View Post
.
Might I give just one example? The last house I sold was bog-standard registered terrace with no mortgage to repay. A doddle for the solicitor for the purchaser.
But no, he starts by writing to his client stating that it is against the law for me to deal with the clerical procedures involved in selling my own house. What a load of old cobblers! Two points emerge here. Firstly, as a solicitor he has no knowledge of the law, particularly the part where he is meant to be an expert, secondly, terryw takes great exception to being called a criminal and lawbreaker when he reached the autumn of his life without a blemish to his name.
The dear chap will have got himself in a muddle - deep within the dusty recesses of his mind will lurk partial recall of the Solicitors Act 1974, S22 which IIRC says that it is an offence for any unqualified person to "prepare a contract for sale or a transfer, conveyance or mortgage relating to land in expectation of fee, gain or reward". The key bit there is of course that you aren't paying yourself a fee when you do your own conveyancing. His concern will have been that he, as a solicitor, could not be seen to be aiding and abetting any such possibility
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