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Conveyancing Solicitors

What Hastings Conveyancing Solicitors do

when you sell a house with our Integrated Marketing and Legals Package.

This is what you can expect from the conveyancing solicitors working on your behalf.

When marketing starts

At an early stage, while the Property Team are busy arranging photographs and preparing particulars, we ask you to let the legal team know where to obtain your title deeds from any lender or other agent who holds them. This allows us to check these for any missing documentation and be on the ball ready to progress the missives when an acceptable offer is received.

Once an offer is in

At this stage your house sale is handed over to our conveyancing solicitors to negotiate and finalise terms. This is known as ‘exchange of’ and ‘concluding’ missives. In Scotland your solicitor handles negotiations and signs the final contract. In no circumstances should you respond personally in writing or by email to the other party or their solicitors.

“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”Ernie Harwell
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The missives

are letters making up the contract between you and the purchaser for the sale of your house.

They are essentially an exchange of formal letters passing between the two sets of conveyancing solicitors.

Missives normally comprise an offer from the purchaser’s conveyancing solicitors which is then followed on by an acceptance from ourselves on your behalf. This may contain a number of qualifications to the offer and, in fact, you can often have several letters going back and forward between the solicitors adjusting the terms of the missives.

When the deal is done

The critical point is reached when one or the other of the two sets of solicitors says in the course of one of the missive letters “We now hold the bargain as concluded” or similar wording to that effect.

At that point the full terms of the missives have been agreed and the deal has become final and binding on both parties. It is not binding until we get to that stage and until then either party can walk away from the transaction. Thankfully this does not often happen but there can be delays in tying up the missives while purchaser waits on an offer of loan from the lender or they try to tie up the missives for the sale of their current house.

We will do our best to conclude the missives as soon as we can but, as they say, it takes two to tango, and if the purchaser’s solicitor is dragging his or her feet there is sometimes very little we can do.

Once we have your title deeds

if we still have had to obtain these from your lender or from a previous solicitor, we will then send them on to the purchaser’s conveyancing solicitors.

The purchaser’s solicitors will check through the title deeds to make sure that they are happy that the title which their clients are going to get to the property is “valid and marketable” (i.e., good). They will then draw up the deed conveying the property from you to the purchaser along with drafts of the forms required for submitting this deed to Register House and they will send the draft deed and the forms to us for us to revise.

Checking the title

At the same time, their solicitors will normally raise with us any observations which they have on the title to the property and any observations which they have, such as identity of utility suppliers, specialist guarantees, paperwork for alterations to the property, etc.

We may have to contact you to find out answers to some of these queries and we may have to do some digging with the Local Authority or other agencies.

Once we have checked the purchaser’s solicitors’ draft deed and forms we will return them to them and they will send us the principal deed for you to sign.

Checking with the local authority

In the meantime, we also order a Property Enquiry Certificate for the property which details whether or not the property is connected to the usual mains services, whether there are any outstanding Building Warrants or Planning Applications affecting the property, whether the roadway is taken over and maintained by the Local Authority or affected by any Planning Notices or Listings. That is then shown to the purchaser’s solicitors.

If there is a mortgage over the property

we will also prepare a Discharge of the mortgage deed.

We will have that approved by the purchaser’s solicitor and then send this off to the lender for signature along with a request for a redemption figure as at the actual date of settlement of the sale.

When we receive the sale price from the purchaser’s solicitors we will pay off any mortgage which you may have, your estate agent’s bill and our own fees and outlays.

We will send out as soon as possible after settlement a full accounting to you of what we have done with the funds and pay to you any balance remaining. We also notify the local Council of the change of ownership for Council Tax purposes, notifying them of your new address for them to correspond with you if they need to.

Cheques v. Bank Transfer
The current Law Society guideline is that solicitors should settle most conveyancing transactions by cheque, rather than a telegraphic transfer of funds. Quite often solicitors do not receive a client’s mortgage funds until the day of settlement so, if a solicitor is relying on funds coming from a sale to fund a purchase, settlement by bank transfer is not easy. Once a bank transfer is instructed all the bank guarantees is that the funds will hit the recipient’s account at some point during that day, i.e., at any time up until 5pm. However, if a solicitor is waiting on those funds arriving to then transfer out, there is a cut-off time for instructing transfers of about 3pm so the situation can arise where there is a need to transfer funds out before funds have come in and that is simply not possible.

However, if transactions are settled by cheque, albeit that we may receive a cheque which the other solicitors ask us to hold as undelivered until they confirm that either they have received their loan funds or settled a sale transaction. As soon as that happens a telephone call can be made and the cashing of the cheque authorised. This avoids a potential delay of several hours in the banking system which can occur with telegraphic transfers.

The cheques which we receive on settlement of conveyancing transactions are normally solicitors’ client account cheques. We are entitled to treat those cheques for Law Society accounting purposes as cleared funds and it is actually professional misconduct for a solicitor to “stop” a client account cheque. However, although the cheque may be treated as cleared funds for Law Society purposes, it is not cleared funds for banking purposes and it still takes the normal time to go through the banking system before cleared funds are credited to our account. Because of this, it is not possible to pay the net proceeds of sale out to a client by telegraphic transfer the same day that we settle the transaction if that settlement is effected by cheque.

It may be possible to arrange with the other solicitors that they settle with us by telegraphic transfer, but if that is what you wish, then we need to know in advance settlement of the transaction and it would be normal practice in that situation to offer to pay for the telegraphic transfer of the funds. It is therefore important that you let us know as soon as you can if you need any proceeds transferred on to you by telegraphic transfer.

Additionally, if a property is in joint names, then we are obliged to pay out the net proceeds jointly
to the two parties, unless we have specific written instructions from one party to say that they are happy for the sale proceeds to be transferred to the other party.

This is only a brief synopsis of what we do in a sale transaction. However, no two transactions are the same and we quite often have other issues that arise, but that’s our job as conveyancing solicitors; to get it sorted!