Conveyancing / General Home Buying

Greetings fellow Earthlings, :earth_africa:

I’m nearly over the finish line with buying my first home, and my gosh, were the rumours true; it’s been beyond stressful at times! :derelict_house:

On paper this should’ve been wrapped up months ago. I’m buying a vacant flat, no chain involved, mortgage was agreed months ago… yet 5+ months after having my offer accepted, we still haven’t completed. The seller is as keen to sell as I am to buy, and is equally frustrated… I actually ‘bought’ it within 3 days of it being on market: it was a win-win deal that suited both of us, so we expected a quick process…:hourglass_flowing_sand:

… No such luck. Of course, covid has been wreaking its havoc but the conveyancing element has been glacial! :snowflake:

Everyone seems to say this. I’m amazed the sector hasn’t been disrupted (or maybe it has and I’m oblivious!). My experience with them has been very opaque, archaic (relying on snail mail), terrible comms, and generally no proactivity being shown by either side of solicitors. I’ve gone for a small, local firm that was recommended to me by a mortal enemy friend. :neutral_face: It’s mid-range I’d say ££.

Has anyone else has any particularly bad, or good experiences with the conveyancing process?) :male_detective:

As an aside my broker, Habito, have been phenomenal!

P.S. Would love Monzo to offer mortgages. I dream of a round-up Pot that would automatically overpay my mortgage and display the resultant savings over the term, similar to how the early repayment of their loan ‘slider’ works.

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We too purchased an empty house and had an all cash buyer for our old house. Best scenario ever but it took months and months.

Things are faxed, sent in the post, you need to physically sign instead of digitally sign. Contracts are on paper instead of PDF and so on… Searches and home surveys take a long time and there’s so many other people involved in the process. This is why I keep reminding people that waiting a day or two for your transfer limit to be increased really isn’t a big deal :sweat_smile:

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Congrats, good luck with completion.

I complained too and they brought another solicitor on the case to help, it’s been like night & day - they actually use email.

We’re in the process at the moment, we’ve been waiting just under 3 months for our searches to come back :confused:

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I think that’s the crux really. Middlemen dealing with middlemen dealing with local authorities - it’s never going to be the quickest process.

The industry seens ripe for reform, but probably too many vested interests. I’d have thought Sellers should commission all the Searches / Surveys and make the results available to all prospective buyers tbh

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We bought a house just under 12 months ago and used a company called MJP Conveyancing. They are novel (possibly unique?) in doing everything through an online portal that you have full access to. So I could log in and read emails from the seller’s solicitor and the reply in more or less real time. I’m pretty sure the system isn’t infallible as I got the feeling the emails had to be manually uploaded to the portal, so there is a delay and possibility for mistakes there but it was great - I could see at a glance which conveyancer currently had the ball in their court, and if it was ours, I could chase.

In the end, it transpired that our chain-free house purchase was being held up by the buyer deliberately dragging their feet because their new build home had been delayed. It was chain-free in the sense that they had the funds but not in the sense that they didn’t have alternative accommodation arranged. But because I could see that our conveyancer was waiting on planning permission information, I called the council myself, found it was in the public domain and got us over the line to exchange several months before we would have otherwise. The buyer moved into rented accommodation for a short while and I’m glad he did because his new build was delayed by another 6 months!

So in summary, great concept but not brilliant conveyancers. I would use them again for a simple sale (chain-free, modern build in residential area etc) but they missed stuff that I picked them up on just because I was so excited about the purchase I was obsessively reading all the info!

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Agree👍 . A surveyor is a lucrative business to be in as you can “survey” the same house several times for different interested buyers.

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Though it seems sensible, that is too ripe for corruption.

That sounds really intriguing, and exactly the type of thing I’d be after tbh - helps mitigate the opacity issue at the very least.

My friend was selling his house, and his solicitor was purposefully dodging his calls/emails for weeks. Eventually my (irate) friend turned up to their office and saw the solicitor leaving via the back door!

Apparently the buyer was being investigated for suspected money-laundering, and the solicitor had an obligation not to raise any alarm bells, so that the due investigative process could take place. The deal fell through in the end but at least he got a good story out of it…

Just before Covid I completed on my first house. Had been renting it for three years and the landlord wanted to sell, so I offered and was accepted. Used an online conveyancer with an online portal and app. As above the communication and documents were all completed online, no physical paperwork. Most delays in my case were conveyancers arguing about and insurance policy for a covenant.

A few weeks after completion the conveyancer company applied for administration. I’ve not been able to get access to any of the completion documents as they’re not accessible to the regulator as they’re struggling to access the digital documents.

Ahh I’m just about to start this journey soon - had an offer accepted last week! :champagne:

I’m already frustrated though after seeking out conveyancers - I spoke to one on Tuesday, good quote, good communication - seemed very on it with what the process looks like etc. They had enough work on but plenty of head space to take on new work. Great.

Called them on Friday AM after having my offer accepted - “Oh sorry we’re way past capacity now”. WHAT! In 2.5 days?!

It’s also so hard to tell what good looks like if you’ve never been through the process before too.

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Someone needs to reform conveyancing and they would be on for a winner.

I used Habito as a broker and it was a breeze. I was accepted for my house on the Friday. Filled in the application form with Habito Friday afternoon and chose my mortgage. Habito submitted my application on the Monday, Atom sent the valuer to value the house on the Tuesday, and they offered me the mortgage on the Wednesday.

Solicitors on the other hand were atrocious. They didn’t seemed bothered for my custom (I had to use a pre-approved solicitors with Atom so I chose the biggest in my area). I had to mither them to start proceedings. They never replied to any questions I sent them. It took about 4 months to complete.

It took so long due that I had to get my mortgage offer extended. I also found out post-completion that they didn’t even look at my house deeds. My original deeds are a grand document but they clearly state I have perpetual rights to use the rear lane. My solicitors just delayed and forced the previous owners to take out liability insurance instead of reading it. It also missed that my next door neighbour has to cross my land to exit their front door (which I’m not bothered about but should have been followed up during conveyancing).

To put a cherry on the cake, I officially completed on the Monday according to Atom but in reality I completed on the Friday because my solicitors "were not sure why there was so much money in the mortgage broker account’ so delayed it until someone more competent realised. I was so annoyed I took my deeds with me at the end - I should really put them somewhere safer than a shelf in my office.

I agree, conveyancing needs fixing and streamlining as most of it seems to just checks or registrations that can be submitted online. The legal bit is to check you (and your mortgage company) not being done over.

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:grimacing: I’m going to double check we have all the documents we need, but I think as long as the title is registered, you shouldn’t need any documents again, even for a future sale? I don’t know, I’ve never sold a property, only bought.

Interesting responses and there seems to be concensus that the conveyancing process is frustrating.

Habito offer a full end-to-end service, called Habito Plus (brokering mortgage, organising surveys & sorting conveyancing) - given how impressed I was with the brokering element I’d definitely give that a shot next time…

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I’ve heard good things about Habito too but I believe it is limited to who they partner with and/or who’s signed up to their services. My local solicitors were not on there and I much prefer supporting local businesses and in return you get a much better service.

Then in addition to this my solicitor had a partnership with a surveyor so if I went with their recommendation I got a reduced fee. Also, in the end my independent mortgage adviser found me an incredible rate on my mortgage from a lender I’ve never heard of and I’m fairly certain they weren’t on there either.

Forgive my ignorance - I’m new to the process - but isn’t the Conveyancing limited to the panel of the Lender not the broker? i.e. the solicitor would not be on the Lenders panel, so cannot act on your behalf - rather than it being specifically a Habito linked thing?

From what I gather, Habito cover maybe 80% of the market - so certainly don’t fall into Whole of Market Brokerage but shouldn’t impact solicitors?

On the solicitors end I did look at the H+ service, but just seemed way too high a cost - maybe 25% higher than the next highest on my list.

It might be me misunderstanding Habito, I looked at them years ago when I was buying a property and it was my understanding that everyone had to be signed up to their service. (solicitor, surveyor, lender etc etc)

It’s basically a big checklist with comments, so you can see who you’re waiting on and where you’re up to overall in the process. Then when one person is finished with their bit, it alerts the other person that it’s now over to them.

Basically if you thought banks were archaic wait until you deal with solicitors! So getting them to use a digital service, outside of paper and fax which is what they’re used to (especially some old firms like my local one that is over 100 years old) - you’ve no chance :smiley:

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For what it’s worth, Habito hooked me up with NatWest and neither party made a peep about which conveyancer/solicitor I chose.

I think the whole point of the Habito Plus package is Habito just organise the solicitor for you (I’m not sure whether you get a say) as you’re paying them to manage the end-to-end process.

Habito Plus only seem to do the mortgage brokering bit after you’ve had an offer accepted.

For what it’s worth, when we were looking, literally no estate agent let us book a viewing without an agreement in principle already in place for at least the asking price

We found it to be similar except every estate agent we wanted a viewing with actually made us do a financial check with their mortgage guy to make sure we could afford it, regardless of any principles we had in place, I found it ridiculous, especially as we saw about 40 properties before we finally agreed on the property we’re on the process of buying