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An overview of conveyancing

Conveyancing is a term commonly found in real estate. It refers to the conveyance of a title of property from one person to another as part of the sale. It is very important to ensure that titles are conveyed as part of the legal transaction when you are buying or selling property because without it you do not have legal title to the house or land that you pay for. There is a contract involved and both parties must sign the contract in the presence of witnesses.

One of the main reasons for conveyancing is to ensure that there are no liens or problems with the title of a property. This is why the process is handled by a solicitor so that the new owner does have the authority to resell the property or carry out any kinds of renovations or changes without having to answer to anyone else.

A conveyance solicitor handles the contract in the case of the purchase of property and in the case of divorce where both partners have joint ownership. The contract of conveyance in the case of a divorce will provide the details of how any monies remaining from the sale of the property are to be divided. In order for a buyer to be able to take out a mortgage to buy a home in this situation, the bank will require that there be a contract of conveyance in place.

Land registration makes it easier now to determine property title that it was in the past. The solicitor you choose will research the property and go back through all the sellers to the original owner looking at deeds and other contracts to make sure that the new owner will have free and clear title. This can be time-consuming if the property has been bought and sold many times in the past. Even though the title search has to be carried out for you to be able to buy the property, if you decide to sell the property tomorrow, the buyers will have to go through the same process.

Conveyance of titles in England and Wales

In England and Wales there are conveyance solicitors as well as licensed conveyors. These professionals hire others to do the legwork for them and these employees do not need to be have accreditation as a conveyor. There are many different companies that offer this type of services, which is why the rates for conveyancing are very competitive. However, conveyancing is not considered to be legal in these countries of the UK unless the contract has been signed by both parties and the solicitor. Prior to this exchange of contracts either party can legally back out of the deal.

The time frame for the completion of a conveyance contract can be as long as three months. The fact that it takes so long often means that one of the parties will back out of the deal leaving the other with the cost of the legal fees involved for the work that has been done. Changes are expected to come with the introduction of the Legal Services Act. The original date for this bill was intended to be October, 2011, but delays have pushed the date farther into the future.

With the passing of this bill, persons who do not have a law degree will have permission to own law firms. This means that there will be more conveyance firms available to the public. It is obvious why this bill is not popular with solicitors who feel that it threatens their business. However, what seems to be happening is that these new firms will become conveyance brokers getting work from clients and doing the initial work. They will then pass the information about the titles along to conveyance solicitors to legalize the contracts. There are concerns over client-lawyer confidentiality with this process.

Conveyancing in Scotland

Scotland, on the other hand, has a different process of conducting conveyance title searches and contracts. In this country, once the offer made by the buyer is accepted by the seller, then the agreement is considered to be legally binding. This means that the process operates much smoother and faster. The process of obtaining and conveying title is merely a part of concluding the deal and does not have a direct bearing on whether or not a buyer can obtain funding from a lender.

There is a closing date for the conclusion of the transaction and all paperwork has to be complete by this date. Solicitors for both parties exchange letters related to the conveyance of the property title and even though a title search is carried out, it does not consume a very lengthy period of time.

This means that it is much easier to purchase property in Scotland than it is in England and Wales.

Problems arising from long times for conveyances

The fact that it can take three months of longer to conclude the buying process in England and Wales has given rise to a problem that has been called gazumping. In this process, a seller accepts an offer on a home and during the wait time for the conveyance procedure to be complete, the seller can accept a higher offer from another buyer. Since the acceptance of an offer is not binding on either party, there is nothing that the buyer can do and so loses the chance of buying the property.

The buyer, too, has the right to back out of the deal. If a buyer finds another property selling at a cheaper price, there is nothing to prevent him from backing out of the original offer. It is the opposite of gazumping and is called gazundering.

The Internet has helped to speed up the conveyance of title ownership somewhat because land registry has made some of its information available for public use and therefore can be accessed by conveyancers and solicitors acting on behalf of clients.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers is the regulatory body in England and Wales. It governs the standards to which such professionals must adhere and in this way protects the consumers and provides them with choices to meet their needs.

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