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Frequently Asked Questions: Conveyancing

You can contact us using our online enquiry form. This will provide us with the information we need to then give you an estimate of the legal fees and other expenses involved. Due to the unprecedented activity in the property market, we are having to monitor and manage the number of residential property instructions we take on so we can deliver the Nockolds’ quality of service and advice. If you are an existing client of the firm or we have been recommended to you by your estate agent or a contact, then please do contact us as we would be delighted to provide you with an estimate and answer any questions you may have.
This will depend on several factors that unfortunately are not always within our control, such as how far your transaction has reached, if you require a mortgage that has not yet been issued by the lender, the outcome of any search results or essential enquiries of third parties and generally the readiness of any other parties particularly where there may be a chain involved. If your transaction is well underway and nearing the point of exchange, we are actively encouraging clients to agree a completion date by no later than the 21st December 2020 to ensure there are a couple of working days available to deal with any unforeseeable issues that may arise before the Christmas closure on 23 December 2020.
We are currently advising all clients of a 10-12 week timeframe to complete your transaction however this timeframe can be affected by external factors such as delays with mortgage lenders, local authorities, freeholders/ managing agents and the length of the chain.

We will do all that we can to meet any deadlines, especially in light of the SDLT holiday. To help us progress your file and avoid delays, please ensure when instructing us to act on your behalf you have your ID documents, fully completed questionnaires and forms ready to send to us. Throughout your transaction please return any requested documents and information promptly to avoid any delays.

At this time the SDLT holiday is due to end on the 31 March 2021. We will of course continue to monitor any official announcements released. If the SDLT holiday is extended or any other changes are made, we will advise you accordingly.
A combination of factors currently means we are experiencing increased delays which can impact on the time transactions take to complete. We strive to reduce delay in areas within our control and we are working harder and longer to minimise the impact of these on transactions.
This could be due to one of several reasons depending on your particular transaction. We are finding the booking of valuations and surveys and in turn mortgage approvals are taking longer. The turn-around time of search results has also increased. On the day of completion itself, actual completion may take longer to achieve as we find at the moment the money takes longer to move between the links in a chain or other monies such as mortgages generally coming later. Further, the normally excellent Land Registry services are under severe pressure with both information we request from them and registrations taking much longer than would normally be the case.
COVID-19 has affected the majority of transactions. Purchases and sales are taking longer, either because a seller still has to wait for their purchaser to be ready, or their own purchase/chain above to be ready.

Probate sales are taking longer due to there being longer processing times at the Probate Registry.

Remortgages have also been affected. If your new lender requires a valuation be carried out, surveyors are facing an increase in demand and so are the mortgage processing teams.
You should contact your estate agent about general updates with the chain that your sale and purchase is in. The estate agent should have full details of all parties in the chain and be able to discuss updates with these transactions and dates desired for exchange and completion.

You should contact your solicitor about specific legal points relating to the your transaction, for example; enquiries raised on a sale or concerns you have about a property you are purchasing.
1. Take your time; when replying to our correspondence, review everything and ensure you send your reply / completed forms to us in one go.

2. Don’t send multiple correspondence; try to send your emails/letters in one, multiple correspondence can be confusing to the reader and take longer to review.

3. Chase the agent; chase the estate agent for updates and where possible refrain from chasing your solicitor. Your estate agent will be able to chase a buyer/seller directly whereas your solicitor can only make contact with their respective solicitors.

4. Be patient; the conveyancing transaction is a lengthy process. It is designed to provide you with as much information as possible about the property you are purchasing. This is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make and so shouldn’t be rushed.
Unfortunately, depending on the issue that arises, all that you can do is keep the lines of communication with all parties involved as open as possible. At the same time there is very little that you or we can do to resolve the matter unless the issue arising can be resolved by us.
Due to the increased level of demand, we are finding that there are severe delays and backlogs in the provision of essential information from third parties i.e. management packs and replies to management enquiries from freeholders/management companies and/or their agents taking much longer than usual. This coupled with other factors such as delayed search results from local authorities, lender requirements in relation to any cladding or other related fire risk issues typically associated with blocks of flats, will inevitably cause delays in the conveyancing process.
Whilst the current situation has created delays in the conveyancing process, COVID-19 will not have any practical effect on your transaction as you will be moving into a vacant property. You should consult with your developer as to their procedure for handover of keys and moving in.
You should be aware that your buying process may take far longer than usual due to the current circumstances. As you are at the bottom of a chain of transactions subject to the same issues, this may have a knock-on effect to your matter. You should also note that mortgage lenders are generally taking longer to carry out valuation inspections and issue offers and so you should start the process of obtaining your mortgage offer at the earlier opportunity. If you are arranging your own survey, there is also a longer than usual lead time for the inspection to be carried out.
Let us know as soon as possible the deadline you have and the reason for this deadline. We will do our best to meet your needs and will discuss with you at the outset your options. Please be aware that there is a high demand for conveyancers across the country which in turn is causing delays.
Unfortunately not. We must receive a copy of your mortgage offer instructions from your lender, unfortunately due to unprecedented demand and COVID-19 related matters such as furloughed staff and remote working arrangements, mortgage lenders are taking significantly longer than usual to process mortgage applications, valuation bookings and generally to deal with any telephone or written mortgage related enquiries. As solicitors, we have no control over how long it will take to process your mortgage application or mortgage offer so where your matter is urgent, we would strongly advise that you contact your mortgage advisor to let you have an update and follow up with the lender direct.

Please also be aware that before we request you to transfer any funds to our client account for exchange and completion, you will need to provide us with evidence of your source of funds. In particular, we will ask for copy of the bank statement(s) for the account(s) in which your purchase finds are held together with evidence of how you acquired those funds over the years I.e. by way of payslips from employers etc.
No, unfortunately this will not speed things up.

We still need time to prepare for exchange and completion. The preparation involves drafting final documents and obtaining original signatures, requesting relevant information from lenders/third parties, finalising the breakdown of figures involved throughout the transaction and ensuring funds will be received from your mortgage lender in time and that nothing is outstanding from their end.

You should also be aware that there are risks involved when exchanging and completing on the same day, which you should think about carefully before agreeing to do so.

We will be able to discuss the risks with you and advise you accordingly before working towards a simultaneous exchange and completion.
If you need to contact us urgently, please email and mark the subject as URGENT, with a quick note giving the reason e.g. a party withdrawing from the sale or the purchase or problem with your mortgage, revoking instructions given to us previously. We will then respond or give you a call as soon as possible. This is the most effective way of contacting us at present as we can monitor emails throughout the day.
Ordinarily, in order to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations, we must see the originals of the ID documents and meet the individuals in question personally. However, we appreciate that due to the pandemic this is not always viable so during this intervening period you can send us a photocopy or email a scanned copy of the documents to us and we can then arrange to meet with you virtually using Zoom or Microsoft Teams during which you will need to hold up your original ID so that we can match them to the copies and verify them against your photo ID. We will take screen shots of you holding your documents and place them on our file.

We will also carry out an electronic verification check and the cost of this search is £6 per person which will be added to your matter as an expense for which you will be responsible for paying as part of your invoice. If you do not have access to Zoom or Microsoft Teams then please call us and we can arrange for you to safely come into the office with your original documents and we will verify these for you there and then.

Alternatively, you can ask a regulated person to certify your ID documents and you can then send the certified copies to us. More information on this is contained in our Identification & Verification document which we will be happy to send you a copy of on request. An electronic verification check may also be carried out as above.

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