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Buying or Selling a House? Meet Your Local Legal Advisors

on Monday, 29 April 2019.

Get to know Fiona Baker, Chartered Legal Executive in Watford, and Asia Qureshi, Solicitor in Birmingham in our Conveyancing Q&A.

Everyone has an opinion on property, but what misconceptions do people have about conveyancing?

Asia: Many people feel that the conveyancing process is simple and can be done cheaply. Buying a house is one of the biggest investments most people make, so the legal process should not be rushed.

When the process is rushed it is likely that attention to important details will be missed which could end up delaying things in the long run and costing the client substantially more in legal costs.

I always try to give clients a realistic timescale. This way I can complete all necessary checks comfortably without letting the client down by giving them an unrealistic speedy timescale.

Fiona: There is a perception it is a slow process, but it doesn't have to be if you have a responsive solicitor who acts on matters quickly. There is also a perception that it's just form filling. Whilst there are a number of forms, the skill is in analysing the information and explaining what the actual implications are clearly. It is certainly not a box-ticking exercise!

What advice would you give someone searching for a conveyancing solicitor? 

Asia: Always choose a conveyancing solicitor based on the strong reputation of the firm. A personal recommendation is ideal.

Fiona: Ask about what type of service they can offer you. You should expect to be in regular contact with your conveyancer so it's important that you feel comfortable to ask them any questions you have.

A firm that can offer other services such as property litigation, company law, or Wills and trusts is a benefit as these areas often encroach in a property transaction. 

How best can someone prepare before coming to see a solicitor to buy or sell a house?

Asia: When selling a house make sure you have as much information as possible about the property, including details such as is it jointly owned or are there landlord and managing agents details if leasehold. Is there a mortgage on the property? Having these details can help speed up the initial stage of the transaction. However, it is not a problem if you do not have this information as the conveyancing solicitor can obtain it.

When buying a house ensure that the property is inspected properly and a survey is carried out. A lot of people don't appreciate that a conveyancing solicitor does not physically inspect the property and can only work from the information provided by the seller, the client and the client's survey report about the physical state of the property.

Fiona: If you are selling, you should think about what work you have had done in your home. For example, boiler or window replacements, electrical works or extensions which will require certificates for those works. If you can't locate the certificates you could contact your contractors for duplicates. This helps in reducing avoidable enquiries.

If you are buying, you should check what commitments you have in relation to your existing accommodation, such as notice periods on rented properties, and it's advisable to speak to a financial advisor or mortgage broker.

What part of the work do you particularly enjoy?

Asia: The joy of giving a client the news they have been waiting for for weeks, either to say "keys are ready for you to collect" or "sale proceeds have been  transferred to your account."

Fiona: The obvious part is the relationships you develop with clients, and it's a great feeling to be able to tell clients that they can collect the keys to their dream home. However, I do quite enjoy the technical aspects of the job too.

Tell us something about yourself and why people should contact you?

Asia: I have been a conveyancing solicitor since 2004 and have experience of all sorts of transactions. All of my clients get a very personal service, lots of whom are repeat clients. I have been working with some clients for over 12 years.

Fiona: In addition to having a wealth of experience in all types of residential property transactions, I have a genuine interest and satisfaction in seeing my clients achieve their goals.

What common pitfalls do people make when buying or selling a house?

Asia: Accepting unrealistic deadlines set by the other side which can lead to unnecessary extra costs and pressure on all parties involved.

Fiona: Not being honest with other parties in the chain. This might be in relation to a timescale and whether that is achievable, or whether they need to sell or re-finance another property before they can proceed with a purchase. This can often add a huge amount of stress at a crucial stage. 

How is the market performing?

Asia: Based on my personal workload, I would say the market is still performing well. I deal with properties based all over the country. Although some of the very high value properties are talking longer to sell. 

Fiona: Reports from local agents are positive, reporting that they have had a busy start to the year. Watford and the surrounding areas have always been popular due to their excellent transport links to London and other parts of the country. This, coupled with a village feel to many of the surrounding areas, gives people the best of both worlds.

If you weren't working in law, what would you do?

Asia: I have been doing this job for so long which I very much enjoy. However, if I had to make a change, I would like to run a café.

Fiona: I'd love to think that I would be a tennis player, but unfortunately my skills aren't up to the task! I'd therefore have to say that I would work with animals in some capacity.

Are you buying or selling a house? Get in touch with Fiona Baker on 01923 919 353 or Asia Qureshi on 0121 227 3704, or complete the form below.


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