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#1638012
My partner is selling her property to her lodger. Lodger has all the cash in the bank, my partner has no mortgage, they've shaken hands on the deal.

As I understand it, the lodger needs a solicitor, obvs, to ensure the title and deeds and valuations and pay the stamp duty and all of that stuff. ie, to protect the lodger.

Does my partner really need a solicitor? Shirly she can get hold of standard contracts somewhere, and anyway the lodger's solicitor will probably be 'drawing' those up (downloading them), and the lodger's solicitor can do witnessing of docs.

The lodger has instructed a solicitor and that firm has asked her to ask my partner for her solicitor. So what will the lodger's solicitor fire off to somebody to get the ball running, and why cannot it be sent direct to the vendor?

Steve R
#1638027
neither party legally need a solicitor.

Transfer of title can be done directly with Land Registry.

The "smoke and mirrors" stuff thrown up by solicitors and building societies is just covering liability from problems arising from searches, and acting as trusted parties in the transfer of funds. If you can guarantee the cash will change hands, half is done.

If property is on Land Registry rather than old title deeds, look at both parties doing it yourself, it will be quicker and cheaper.
defcribed, JAFO liked this
#1638069
What Sooty said. No-one legally needs a solicitor to buy or sell any house.

The reality is that if a mortgage lender is involved then they will require that the transaction is handled by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. This is so that their backsides are covered and there is someone with professional indemnity insurance to sue if it all goes wrong.

The conveyancing process is not difficult and the administration is, to the average white-collar professional, completely trivial. The reason it is generally seen to take so long and be so complicated is because solicitors are behaving, well, like solicitors. They write each other letters and communicate through their secretaries rather than picking up the phone and sorting things out like adults. My last two house purchases have seen 'enquiries' raised by solicitors dragged out for weeks of email and letter tennis when they could clearly have been solved in a matter of minutes if they got on the phone and discussed a resolution. There is also a certain amount of professional willy-waving where each solicitor tries to get the other to dance to their tune, one-upmanship in the sense of "you must answer my set of questions" and "no, you must answer mine".

It can get interesting when one party is using a solicitor and the other doing it themselves. The solicitor will often start by refusing to communicate with the other party and insisting they must have a solicitor, and once that hurdle is overcome they will take extreme exception to the other party not working like a solicitor - i.e. phoning up or dropping in unannounced to run through and resolve all the issues in one go rather than limbering up for a lengthy game of letter or email tennis.

Even when the solicitors email each other they usually write a letter (dictated to their secretary because they can't type, obviously) which gets PDFd and attached to the email. The mind boggles.

All that said, if you're to do it yourself it helps to have a fair understanding of property law, planning matters, environmental issues, local authority interactions, etc. If you're ignorant on most of this then you can still get the transaction done, and you'll probably be fine, but you do then run the risk of buying something with an ongoing boundary dispute or something like that.
Sooty25 liked this
#1638078
Steve R wrote:Does my partner really need a solicitor? Shirly she can get hold of standard contracts somewhere, and anyway the lodger's solicitor will probably be 'drawing' those up (downloading them), and the lodger's solicitor can do witnessing of docs.

The lodger has instructed a solicitor and that firm has asked her to ask my partner for her solicitor. So what will the lodger's solicitor fire off to somebody to get the ball running, and why cannot it be sent direct to the vendor?


I've just re-read the more specific questions in here.

As your partner is selling it is much easier for her to act for herself without a solicitor than if she were buying because the risk to her is much lower. The buyer has all the house-related risk, the only real risk to the seller is getting paid - which if it's someone you know well and trust should be fairly minimal.

Just tell the other solicitor that she isn't using one and to please send all enquiries direct to her. Confirm also that they will be drawing up the coveyance itself (this is the contract, the legal document which you sign to transfer ownership).

The solicitor will basically send you a list of what they call 'enquiries' that need answering. Normally your solicitor would deal with getting these answered, and their administrative competence in getting it done quickly and with acceptable answers would usually leave quite a lot to be desired. The list of enquiries may be quite lengthy and will contain some that are quite clearly standard and asked on every purchase and some that are more specific and relate to the title held at the Land Registry or particular issues with respect to utilities, neighbouring properties, trees, planning matters, etc. If your partner isn't well-versed in the details of house buying then answering all the enquiries may involve a bit of a treasure hunt for information but it's all good fun and informative.

Parallel to this process their solicitor will draw up the conveyance and send you the first draft. You then engage in back and forth editing until both sides are happy with it. It specifies things like the property changing hands, the tenure, how much is being paid, who the parties are, etc. You must understand every single word in the conveyance and what it means. If you don't then start researching, use Google, ask people, etc. If you're still stuck then you've either got to pay a solicitor (who will want the whole job rather than just proof-reading a conveyance), or take a chance, or bluff it out and ask that the clause concerned be removed.

Obviously the dates are blank at the draft stage and put in at the last minute when you sign and exchange. The one piece of advice I would give is to refuse a request for completion 'on notice'. Normally when you sign and exchange contracts the date of completion is specified - usually with penalties for either side being unable to complete on that date. Some buyers (and sellers, frequent with developers/builders) ask for completion 'on notice' when means that no date is specified and it happens when they are ready/willing, usually at 14 days notice. This puts the other party in a very weak position because after exchange they are legally committed but can do very little to force through completion if the other continues to delay.

With regard to the money, the usual route would be to request proof of funds (a copy of a very recent bank statement) at the start of the process. Then agree (this is part of the conveyance) how much the deposit will be (10% is usual) and this deposit is paid upon exchange of contracts. On completion day the buyers solicitor simply wires you the balance and once you've confirmed the balance as having arrived in your account you hand over the keys. That's it - done.
#1638079
defcribed wrote:
Even when the solicitors email each other they usually write a letter (dictated to their secretary because they can't type, obviously) which gets PDFd and attached to the email. The mind boggles.


When we moved in 2009 our solicitor drove me mad ...... I'd email her about something.... several days of silence, and then an email to say that she'd sent a letter responding to my question .... two days later a physical letter would arrive in the post roughly responding to my email.

That said, I annoyed her intently by speaking to the other parties above and below us in the chain and sorting things out between us, rather than allowing her to introduce misunderstanding and delay by sending long but ambiguous letters to other solicitors.

She got her revenge by on the day of planned exchange 'spotting' that the house we were buying was adjacent to agricultural buildings, and deciding that she would need written proof from our lenders that this didn't affect their valuation. All credit to C&G it took them about two hours to provide that confirmation.
#1638080
Sold a house without solicitors but needed to visit Land Registry etc to do so. Even they tried to make it tough as they wouldn't give me an appointment until all paperwork correct and signed etc. (I made a mistake of admitting that the final signatures would be done before the appointment and the lady promptly cancelled it so had to call again!)
Last house bought with minimal fuss through an online type solicitor. Still a minor pain and more expensive than I thought reasonable but not half as much as using a more highstreet one.
The details about how to do it and the forms are all online
#1638083
The last time we sold it cost us something like 400 quid for the conveyancy; not sure if for that I would want the hassle and potential risk.

Unless selling a lean to conservatory it would seem that 400 quid is not going to be of any significance on the sums involved in any house sale/purchase.
Colonel Panic liked this
#1638087
Plenty have trodden this path before and there are guides on DIY conveyancing a-plenty.
It has never been simpler...exception being something that hasn't changed hands for over ~50 years, that's before compulsory land-registration came in. the plus is that it's also much cheaper, a competitive market with licensed conveyancers allowed to do the work and so, simple cases are far cheaper in cash,as well as in true terms, than back when Solicitors had a monopoly and waded through a mountain of ancient documents that umpteen of their kind had verified and added to, over the generations.

A cautionary tale.....When buying my present house, the solicitor (a splendid fellow, long since departed the mortal coil) handed me an OS plan of the property and bid me measure it up,as it would save Surveyor's fees and he had confidence in my ability to do so!

I called him back, "we have a slight problem, Mr. Holland, the house has a room on the side, plus a path, a wall and a flower-bed all parallel with the road up the side"(corner property) "The thing is, It's 34 feet wide, standing on a 22 foot wide plot . :D

When the road at the side was put in, a cinder path at the side of the plot was used as a repository for the foundation-diggings for our 2 pairs of semis...Affidavits were signed to cover occupation right back to the initial building of the house ( the nieces of the original landowner were still alive, local and remembered the development!) It was a close community and even the son of the original owner of my house was tracked-down ,"through the grapevine" and signed when he was next in Manchester.

I was very lucky that I had a really good, ethical solicitor who was a specialist in conveyancing and property -law.....the bill was very reasonable,for the time, but I sold a property some 35 years later and it was actually cheaper to convey!
#1638090
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:The last time we sold it cost us something like 400 quid for the conveyancy; not sure if for that I would want the hassle and potential risk.

Unless selling a lean to conservatory it would seem that 400 quid is not going to be of any significance on the sums involved in any house sale/purchase.


It's not so much the cost as the efficiency (or lack thereof).

If you've a reasonable working knowledge of what needs to be done and you're a competent administrator then each solicitor that is removed from the process probably speeds things up by 50%.

If neither party uses a solicitor or agent and it's a property you both know then it really can be as simple as drawing up a contract from a template, signing it, paying the money, registering the transfer at the Land Registry and handing over the keys. All the searches and enquiries are entirely optional, though that is not to say that as a buyer you shouldn't perform them.
#1638147
Some years ago, I bought a piece of land adjoining our garden. 3000sqft, £4k.

I was covering all costs and the vendors regular solicitor was acting for both parties. We were both fine with that, price already agreed, no searches needed other than land registry, which we knew wouldn't be a problem as it was still on a Title Deed, held by the same firm of solicitors.

After 2 months of sodding about, the solicitors finally admitted they couldn't find the deeds for this scrap of land or even the deeds to the vendors home, which they also held.

After about 5 months, still no deeds, I said to the vendor who was now distressed over his home deeds, that I'd just pay him and we'd draw up a Bill of Sale. The idea being after 12 years I'd just claim it at Land Registry under the Land Enclosures Act.

He had agreed to this, when the solicitors announced they'd found all his deeds, in a vault, in another of there offices 40 miles away. An office which wasn't even a part of their firm when the vendor deposited the deeds!

Conveyance was then done very promptly, but without any discount on the bill!
#1638179
defcribed wrote:Even when the solicitors email each other they usually write a letter (dictated to their secretary because they can't type, obviously) which gets PDFd and attached to the email. The mind boggles.

Dont know whether I should be :lol: :lol: or :roll: :roll: Lets just say Im doing both wryly...

Currently dealing with UK solicitors by Email about a simple matter. EVERYTHING has been typed up, scanned and attached as a pdf, the Emails all say "as discussed find attached" or variations. It is just Soooo obvious how they rack up the fees this way... :roll:

Regards, SD..