The way in which property is purchased has changed massively over the last twenty years. Obtaining a mortgage used to mean an interview with the Building Society Manager, and you had to have saved with them for some time before you were considered.
Also, it meant seeing your solicitor and sitting down and discussing the transaction. It also might have meant you looking with your solicitor at complex deeds reflecting what you were buying and what you could do with it.
The advent of the world wide web and emails some would say have reduced the costs by avoiding meetings with the building society and the lawyer. It can all be “done on line” is the boast, as if in some way the transaction should be reduced to the level of buying a new set of cutlery on eBay.
Buying a house, for most people, is the biggest transaction they will ever be involved in. Normally, a minimum of a six figure sum changes hands, yet the less time it all takes the more satisfied most clients are. Most at least would walk around a new car a couple of times before they bought it, but a new house – well why be concerned? The solicitor is sorting that.
Some solicitors see their role as simply ensuring that the Land Registry register reflects the fact that their client owns the property. Well that is a start.
The solicitor that you instruct should be just that – “instructed”. Any concerns that you have about the house should be discussed, and if need be, the seller asked. A response to a question that is given wrongly may entitle you to damages from the seller.
The solicitor should advise you about what you are buying. You should be advised to have a survey carried out above and beyond the valuation from the Building Society. You should be shown where the boundaries are and advised if there are restrictions as to use or further development. The mortgage conditions should be explained to you.
The best way of ensuring that you receive the advice that you need is to have bespoke advice for your transaction. You will only receive this by using a solicitor that you can meet face to face. Yes, it may be cheaper to use someone from 200 miles away and use the internet. Would you buy a car from 200 miles away over the internet without looking at it first? No. Use a solicitor that you can meet. It might cost a little more, but you will avoid expensive pitfalls by doing so.