With the costs involved when moving, you may be tempted to save money by carrying out the legal side of the transaction yourself. Be warned – the dangers of self representation are plenty, potentially costing you even more as Kausiha Baskaran shares below!
The Conveyancing Process
The legal process that is involved in buying or selling a property is predominantly transferring the ownership of the property to one party from another.
The process involved will vary depending on whether you are buying or selling. When purchasing, you will need to review all legal documents and inspect all searches undertaken such as the local authority and environmental searches. The contract and transfer will need to be approved and ensure that they have been drafted accordingly so that the transfer of the titles can be registered with the Land Registry without any issues. This would be applicable when buying or selling a property.
The Dangers of Self Representation
Qualified legal professionals have a comprehensive understanding of property law. Further, we are obliged to undertake regular training so that we are always up to date with the latest changes in the legislation and procedures. Therefore, we will be able to carry out the conveyancing coherently and compliantly. You may risk missing out a vital legal factor which can result in an expensive mistake.
When it comes to purchasing a property, the most important stage of conveyancing is the enquiry stage. It is vital that all the necessary enquiries are raised before exchanging contract and that satisfactory replies are received. Qualified legal professionals are trained in raising enquiries and possess the experience to be able to identify issues that need to be solved. By carrying out the conveyancing yourself, there is a chance that you can miss out raising important enquiries. This will be detrimental as you may be purchasing a property that may not be in your best interest to. You may also face difficulties when it comes to selling the property if you did not receive all the necessary responses at the time of the purchase.
Unlike qualified legal professionals, you would not have negligence insurance. Therefore, if you make a mistake during the process, you could be held personally liable for the errors and rack up significant additional costs. You may even face legal proceedings. By trying to save yourself money, you could potentially be faced with high costs for negligence instead.
You can expose yourself to fraud and criminal activities without the right procedures in place. As a firm, we have many processes in place to identify potential identity theft, money laundering, mortgage fraud etc and we are also protected by insurance for any mishaps. You may not have all the necessary protections and can again lose money and have no means of remedy for this.
In certain circumstances, you may find a legal representative for the opposing party that could potentially exploit any gaps in your knowledge and utilise them for the benefit for their client. Could you tell a “forfeiture in bankruptcy clause” from an earlier “transaction at undervalue” and would the sellers’ representatives be able to anticipate your missing knowledge on the subject? Any instructed solicitor is only instructed by their client and does not owe you a duty of care. While you will have the right to rely on some information supplied to you, you may struggle to sort the formal representations from the opinions and beliefs.
A qualified conveyancer and solicitor would have the knowledge to recognise the above issues and many more which will ensure you have someone in your corner fighting for you to ensure you do not end up with a financial black hole where you should have your dream home or a criminal record where you should have your sale proceeds. By appointing a solicitor or conveyancer to act on your behalf, they have a duty of care and will always act in your best interest.
You have been warned!
When choosing a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out your property transaction, it is vital that you carry out your research and choose wisely. The legal fees are a good indication of the quality of service that you can expect from the firm. It is essential that you are aware that by instructing a solicitor who will be charging a ‘cheaper’ fee compared to others can also mean that the service may not be of a high standard.
Here at SO Legal, we strike a balance between affordable legal fees and providing outstanding legal services, so you can avoid the dangers of self representation.
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