I am progressing with the sale of my apartment in Chinatown and the EA has just e-mailed to warn that the purchasers are appointing a new solicitor. I am told that this is due to the fact that the lender will only engage with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. Why would a major lender only engage with certain solicitors rather the firm that they want to select to handle their conveyancing in Chinatown ?
Lenders have always had an approved set of law firms that can represent them, but in the last few years big names such as Santander, have considered and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have acted for them for decades.
Lending institutions attribute this action to a rise in fraud as the reason for the pruning – criteria have been stiffened as a smaller panel is easier to monitor. Banks tend not to disclose how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society says it is being contacted daily by practices that have been removed from panels. Some are unaware that they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyers' case. Your purchasers are unlikely to have any sway in the decision.
Can conveyancing in Chinatown to be completed within a month?
In a situation where you are under time constraints for your conveyancing it is highly recommended that your solicitor is familiar with the area as they will have local contacts and intelligence. It is even conceivable that they would have handled otherhomes in the same road. Therefore consider using a Chinatown conveyancing lawyer. In addition, ensure that the lawyer is on the on the approved list for your mortgage company. It is claimed that just under twenty per cent of Chinatown conveyancing deals are held up or jeopardised after finding out that a buyer’s lawyer was not on their banks member panel. This can often result in the home move being delayed by as much as 21 days. It is understood that this issue impacts approximately one hundred thousand home moves annually. Almost all Chinatown conveyancing practices can not represent certain mortgage companies so do check at the outset.
I have been told that property searches are the primary cause of obstruction in Chinatown house deals. Is this right?
The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO) has noted the conclusions of research by MoveWithUs that conveyancing searches do not feature amongst the common causes of delays in the conveyancing process. Local searches are not likely to feature in any slowing down conveyancing in Chinatown.
How does conveyancing in Chinatown differ for new build properties?
Most buyers of new build property in Chinatown come to us having been asked by the seller to sign contracts and commit to the purchase even before the property is built. This is because builders in Chinatown typically acquire the land, plan the estate and want to get the plots sold off as they are building the properties. Buyers, therefore, will have to exchange contracts without actually seeing the house they are buying. To reduce the chances of losing the property, buyers should instruct property lawyers as soon as the property is reserved and mortgage applications should be submitted quickly. Due to the fact that it could be several months and even years between exchange of contracts and completion, the mortgage offer may need to be extended. It would be wise to use a lawyer who specialises in new build conveyancing especially if they are accustomed to new build conveyancing in Chinatown or who has acted in the same development.
Am I right to be concerned that 3rd parties that I am dealing with are recommending a nationwide conveyancing firm rather than a High Street Chinatown conveyancing firm?
As is the case with many service providers, often input from family and friends can be very helpful. Nevertheless there are numerous parties with a keen interest in a conveyancing deal; estate agents, financial adviser and lenders might all suggest solicitors to instruct. On occasion these solicitors might be known to one of the organisations as being good in their field, but occasionally there may be a financial incentive behind the endorsement. You are at liberty to select your preferred lawyer. Don't forget that many banks specify a panel list of solicitors you must use for the lender related work in your home move.
We have instructed a Chinatown conveyancing solicitor for our house purchase (first time buyers) and have picked up in the engagement letter that they are not covered by the Financial Conduct Authority. Am I right to be concerned or is that standard with solicitor?
We can't see why they should be. Most conveyancer don't lend money. You should check that they are regulated by the SRA, who dictate strict laws in relation to monies held in their bank.