Conveyancing is an essential part of the home buying process to ensure the smooth transfer of ownership of property from the seller to the buyer.
For this purpose, many aspiring homebuyers seek out the best conveyancing solicitors to help them with the contract from exchange to completion.
Here are some of the biggest risks conveyancers need to watch out for when it comes to conveyancing transactions. These red flags are often overlooked, and yet they play a major role in how smooth and transparent the entire process is going to be.
In order to stick to fiduciary responsibilities and make things easier for all parties, keep an eye out for these signs.
Conflicting Transfers Due to Title Inconsistencies
One of the most serious issues to watch out for is when there is a conflicting transfer.
This is the case when a property has been transferred, but the title of the property is still in someone else's name. This conflict can be caused by many things, including a previous owner making a transaction without informing the others or when a property is transferred to a relative or friend with the intentions of it being transferred back later.
Complications like this can also arise if a sole solicitor acts for two different sides of a family transfer. In this case, conflicts can arise when there is a sudden blurring of the lines when pertaining to who exactly the client in question is. Here, registrations can start getting sketchy, so it's best to check these from the onset.
Delays are very common in transfers. In fact, there are many cases when contracts are delayed for weeks, if not months.
The real problem here lies when you suddenly find yourself acting against the best interests of colleagues and contemporaries for the sake of catering to delays. It is important to comply with standards of conduct throughout various delays, regardless of the reasons.
This would require clarification of roles and established agreements to ensure that everything is still going according to plan.
Incapacity of Client to Make Decisions
You need to always be mindful of the capacity of your client when making decisions. Particularly, when a client is faced with a number of choices, you need to help them make decisions based on their capacity as well as the potential risks and responsibilities that come with the decision being made.
Incapacity can come from either mental or physical health or even from a lack of experience in the field. It is the responsibility of the conveyancer to check if the client is able to make clear decisions that they can back up later on.
This ensures that all following procedures are legitimate and done with soundness of mind. If there is a need to get the reference of a medical practitioner, then it should be done.
Contradictory Claims Post-Settlement
Once the settlement takes place and the property is passed over to the new owners, you need to make sure that the client is aware of the conditions surrounding the transfer of the property.
For example, there may be issues with the type of property that was bought, and clients may be unaware of this. This includes concerns regarding fixtures and fittings, as well as any other issues that need to be dealt with when taking over the property.
More contradictory claims that may pose an issue in post-settlement include sudden claims of ownership from other relatives or third parties that weren't involved in the process. Even title issues can come up because of parties not agreeing on final terms or trusts coming into play.
You also want to be careful about named individuals on the title that aren't making any financial contributions. Issues may arise when other parties on the title have sudden qualms about this decision.
Fraud from External Parties
Conveyancing solicitors often fall victim to fraud from external parties. Fraud from external parties can be anything from falsified documents to names on the title who no longer want to be involved in the process.
You must always remember to check the authenticity of any document that's presented to you. Do not be afraid to cross-check with various parties to establish the validity of the document.
You also need to be wary of parties who try to leave during the middle of a transaction. Fraud from external parties is always easier to spot the more you are aware of the language of fraud.
If not spotted early, you may face the risk of dealing with creditor losses and clients running from liability.
Misalignment on Purchasing Knowledge
The last risk you need to be mindful of is when there is a misalignment of purchasing knowledge. This is especially important if you are working with several clients at once, as you need to make sure that everyone is aware of their rights and responsibilities as fully as possible.
Another issue with this is if your client simply doesn't have enough knowledge on the property guidelines, accreditations and environmental compliance that will come with the property. This is difficult if there are sudden complaints that arise in the latter half of the process simply because of the lack of know-how and transparency.
To prevent legal complications because of misalignment of purchasing knowledge, you need to be completely transparent in your dealings and do a briefing at every stop.
Both parties have to watch out for several red flags when it comes to conveyancing. As a solicitor, having the necessary knowledge allows you to circumvent these possible issues and ensure a good transaction from start to finish.
As the client, it's always good to compare conveyancing options to make sure you have the solution that works for all parties. It may seem tempting to rush things along, but it's better to take your time and make sure everything is carried out in a proper manner for the sake of everyone involved.
You also need to take into consideration that conveyancing is not just a one-time activity. Rather, it is a continuous process that needs to be done in order to make sure you are upholding legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
It is simply better to have plans in motion and prepare in the event of issues that may ruin your transactions. This way, you can get through your conveyancing as smoothly as possible.
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