You’ve found the house you want to buy, done your research on the area and sorted out how you will afford the conveyancing fees. Now what?

If you’re on a tight budget, you might think about carrying out the conveyancing process of the purchase yourself. But stop right there.

Before you do, it’s worth considering what conveyancers actually do for you and the risks of DIY-ing your conveyancing.

Conveyancers are experts in what they do, and know which tasks are unavoidable, when buying or purchasing a property. They know, if certain areas are skipped over or carried out incorrectly, then the whole transaction can come to a costly standstill. So with that in mind, here’s what we really do for you when conveyancing, that you might not have even considered in your DIY job.

We prepare all the essential documents

Our conveyancing work includes gathering and preparing all the legal documents needed, to fully complete a sale or purchase on your behalf. As conveyancers, we have a set procedure and follow the right processes, to avoid any mistakes. We know exactly which forms to fill in, who needs to fill them in and when to send them to either party. We’re pro’s who have been sorting out the right paperwork for years, so we know what’s what.

We know the conveyancing jargon

There is only so much a book can teach you, the rest comes with experience. Conveyancing contract conditions can change so often, that you need to be ‘in it’ to know what’s happening and what policies, terms etc have changed or what they mean. Luckily, we fully understand the terminology and know where to apply it. Writing contracts is very difficult and detailed business. If worded incorrectly, it can totally alter a transaction or the meaning of something. By having a professional take care of this, you avoid creating restrictions on either party, or slowing down the process,( just because you didn’t understand what something meant, so ignored it.)

Instead, we can provide guidance for any worries you have about a contract, and have the legal know-how to make changes, in the right places, on your behalf.

Conveyancers sort out the tricky finances

Arranging finances, claiming money back and avoiding large fines is easy work for us. For anyone else, it’s daunting. Imagine if you’ve just paid a lump sum of council tax on your current property, and have no idea how to claim it back? Having a conveyancer to advise on the best way to go about it, is a massive relief in cases like these. We can also help make any other financial adjustments and ensure that you always know what the cost will be. By doing it yourself, you could be stung with bills that you were never expecting. Conveyancers also tie up any loose ends and finances outstanding, something you might not be clued up on.

Transferral of ownership

Before you ‘settle’ a purchase (or sale), it’s important to transfer ownership. This requires specific transfer documents. These documents are the papers that confirm that the transfer of a property can go through. It’s an essential step that make you the rightful and legal owner of a property. It’s a simple procedure, but only if you know the process.

Turning up to Exchange

A conveyancer or legal representative has to legally attend exchange of contracts.This is the final property transaction process where all the documents and finances are exchanged and the keys can be handed over to the new legal owner. Without this final step, a sale or purchase cannot take place.

Conveyancing is difficult for the untrained, but if you’re still thinking about taking on your own case, then read this first.

The risks of DIY Conveyancing

Being clued up is essential when buying a house. That’s why we’ve outlined the biggest risks of taking on the hefty job of conveyancing yourself.

Here’s the top 3 risks of taking conveyancing into your own hands when buying a house..

#1 DIY conveyancing could cost you more than a professional

Having a lack of expertise in conveyancing, means when things go wrong, you could really be headed into trouble. Conveyancers have the expertise, skills, contacts and knowledge to tackle any problems as and when they arise. You don’t have the ‘know how’ to manage the whole process from beginning to end.

Imagine, as careful as you have been to state all details in writing, imagine, just once, you make a verbal agreement with a seller about them say, covering the price of some structural work needed on the property. If you initiated this work, had it finalised, how stressful would you feel, if they then denied ever offering to pay for it. You would have no proof of the agreement to fall back on. That’s potentially a large cost that could have easily been avoided if it was stated in writing at the time. Conveyancers follow certain procedures to avoid these types of problems further down the line. Buying a house involves lots of contracts. If you don’t read them thoroughly and are not being advised by an expert, you might miss the most important clauses and points. If you happen to miss something, and breach contract purely from ignorance, then you could be held responsible and fined in the worst circumstances.

#2 Conveyancing takes time, but DIY-ing will take longer

You might think that the whole DIY option is a good idea and is saving you money on your purchase. What you may forget to factor in, is the time it costs you. Conveyancing is a full time job. Unless you’re retired or have no need to work ( we can dream!), then you most likely won’t have time to carry out the full conveyancing work. It takes a long time and that’s why professionals ( like us) do it for our day job.

Look at it like this: If you earn around £40 an hour and each week you’re spending 10 hours or more on your DIY conveyancing. These 10 hours involve processing paperwork, following up with the other party and negotiations. That amounts to a weekly totally of £400, plus anything extra you do in the week in regards to conveyancing. Don’t forget, you also have to actually go to work, fit in downtime and spend time with family and friends.

When you add it all up, it’s actually cheaper to invest in professional services than spend all your time googling it yourself.

#3 Panicking when issues arise

A conveyancer takes care of important tasks on your behalf, that you might miss when doing a DIY job. This includes; reviewing tasks and the sales and purchase contract for errors and discrepancies. They also conduct legal searches and liaise with other parties when these red flags arise.

In rare cases, where the transaction runs smoothly and nothing dramatic happens, then using your own initiative and DIY-conveyancing will save you a small amount of money. But often in more cases than not, problems do occur and having a decent conveyancer to cover your back, pays off long term. A conveyancer afterall, has the skills to tackle the most challenging of situations and know exactly how to protect you, in the worst case scenarios.

DIY-ing is doable, but having a conveyancer is essential for smooth buying transactions, saving precious time and your peace of mind. If your transaction proceeds smoothly and no-unexpected issues crop up, then DIY-conveyancing may save you a little money. But, if all doesn’t go well, this is when having a conveyancer or solicitor on your side really pays off when buying a house.

NBM Solicitors Partners

WJ Broadhead NP Eason SJ Lacey CR Broadhead V Coggan

Website content authored by Matthew Broadhead

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