Moving home is routinely considered one of the most stressful events any of us will experience in our lives; the thought of packing up all personal possessions, leaving a friendly, familiar place and people, and relocating into the unknown is likely to fill anyone with anxiety.

There are various reasons why we move home, many being very emotive in themselves.  This, coupled with the lack of control over the legal process which dictates any timeframe, will no doubt leave many of us fraught, frazzled and frustrated in the process. Here are some tips to try to ease home-buying headaches:

  • Try to be flexible with moving dates from the outset; until all the pre-contract legal work is carried out and contracts are exchanged, a completion date cannot be set.
  • There is usually quite a lot of paperwork for you to provide and forms to complete at the start of a property transaction; if you are finding this daunting or have any questions, call your conveyancer who will be able to talk you through the forms, or arrange an appointment to go through the information face to face. We are here to help guide you through the process alongside dealing with the legal matters!
  • Property Lawyers (conveyancers) have a duty to comply with Government Legislation by way of ID, source of funding and anti-money laundering checks; please do not be offended when you are asked to provide various personal information- it is a legal requirement of your conveyancer to obtain this.
  • Contract papers will usually be sent out once all the initial paperwork/forms are received from you, and the conveyancing process does not tend to start until such time. It may be helpful to instruct a conveyancer when you start marketing your property so that all the initial paperwork can be dealt with enabling the conveyancing process to start much sooner.
  • It is usual for further enquiries to be raised about any property, some of which may not have been asked when you purchased the property; updates in Government Legislation and Court Case-Law means that there may be information required during the course of conveyancing which would not previously have been obtained. It is helpful if you provide all certificates/guarantees/deeds to your conveyancer at the outset- providing these documents to your buyer’s conveyancer may avoid lengthy enquiries requesting the same.
  • There are various elements that require investigating in a property transaction including:
    • deducing and evidencing title to the property;
    • covenants (legal promises) affecting the property;
    • evidencing works carried out at the property have been done to an approved standard;
    • information on any financial liabilities attached to the land and evidence these will be discharged;
    • ensuring the property is a suitable security for any mortgage lender and complying with the lender’s requirements to name but a few.

This can sometimes mean that the transaction appears to be ‘dragging along’, but your conveyancer will be investigating numerous matters in respect of the land and obtaining all the necessary information to provide to you. If you are purchasing with mortgage finance, it may be a requirement of your lender to obtain specific documentation which may also mean the process does not proceed as quickly as we would like.

If you have any queries, or wonder what stage your transaction has reached, please call or make an appointment to speak with your conveyancer who can advise on any update, or what is awaited. I do not think we will ever make moving home completely stress-free, but being involved in the process may help you feel you have more control and make it slightly less frustrating!

For further information, please contact Pippa Bruce in the Property department on 01395 200373 or email pippabruce@wbw.co.uk. WBW has nine offices across the South West in Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Torquay, Paignton, Exeter, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.