News & Insights: Property

Law Society Launches New Consumer Guide to Buying and Selling Residential Property

2 February 2024

The Law Society of Northern Ireland has introduced the “Consumer Guide to Buying and Selling Residential Property” as part of ‘Conveyancing Week’ which occurred in October 2023. This has been the result of successful collaboration between Estate Agents, Solicitors and Surveyors. This new guide encourages increased sharing of information between Estate Agents, Solicitors and Surveyors. This should in speedier transactions and increased awareness of the issues by each party.

It also provides both purchasers and vendors greater detail and understanding of how the Conveyancing process proceeds, including the following aspects:

  • Why do you need a solicitor?
  • Explanation of potential costs
  • A brief outline of the responsibilities and procedure relating to both purchasers and vendors
  • Common issues which purchase and vendors should be aware of, including apartments, Tenure, mortgages, money regulations and new build properties.

Why do I need a solicitor to buy or sell a house?

Engaging with a solicitor is essential while buying or selling a house. They are trained experts who guide individuals through the intricate conveyancing process.

Our property experts here at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors will.

  1. Explain the Process. Our team will break down the legalities of your sale/purchase, ensuring you understand each step.
  2. Manage the Process. Solicitors take on the responsibility of managing the legal aspects of the transaction. This can involving liaising with your mortgage provider, requesting searches etc.
  3. Provide Advice. Your solicitor will address specific concerns related to your property transaction. It is important to be fully informed on the legal condition of the property before you purchase or sell. Without the clear and expert advice provided by the team at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors,  difficulties and additional costs may arise.
  4. Deal with the Other Party’s Solicitor. Your solicitor will facilitate the communication between you and the solicitor representing the other party.
  5. Issue resolution: During the transaction, your solicitor will work to resolve any issues, ensuring we always act in your best interests.

What will it cost?

The legal costs associated with hiring a solicitor cover the time and expertise needed to ensure the transaction is conducted correctly.

You will obtain a fee estimate from us which will show the estimated outlays of the transaction.

Legal costs consider numerous factors, the more information you provide your solicitor, the more accurate the fee estimate will be.

What am I getting when I buy a property?

When buying a property, our role encompasses crucial tasks to ensure a secure legal transaction.

Your solicitor must check that it has “good and marketable title” and investigate matters affecting the property including.

  1. The Legal Title. We will check the title for various matters such as ownership, restrictions on use, restrictions on alterations and subletting. You must be aware and make informed decision based on our advice before your decide to proceed towards completion.
  2. Services and Easements. We will check the access to and from the property and the results of any enquiries.
  3. Legal Issues from Searches. Many issues can arise from the various searches and certificates we received. It is our duty to inform you of the issues and resolve them if possible.
  4. Your Mortgage. We have dual role as a representative on behalf of your Lender. We must ensure good and marketable title and compliance with their regulations in order to complete and drawdown monies.
  5. Registration. Once you purchase your property, we attend to the registration of your purchase in Land Registry

What am I getting when I sell a property?

When selling a property, our role includes preparing the title pack, gathering deeds, and drafting the contract for sale. We also assist you with completing the Replies to Pre-Contract Enquires. If you have a mortgage when you sell, your solicitor will arrange to discharge the mortgage using the net sale proceeds.

Common Matters

The Conveyancing Guide also discusses common matters that arise during a conveyancing transaction.

  1. New Build Properties. The process for buying a new build property is different from purchasing an existing property. As new builds are usually part of a larger development, title deeds will set down the relationship between other property owners and developer. We must again ensure good and marketable title and the necessary amenities are available for use in your property.
  2. Leasehold. If your property is leasehold, there may be covenants or conditions affecting use of the property. We also consider the term of the lease and the annual ground rent.
  3. Apartments. Apartment purchases usually obtain a long lease for the apartment. A management company will be involved regarding the shared areas of the apartment, including hallways, stairwells, and gardens. It is important that the management company is governing the apartment complex appropriately.
  4. Client Money. Solicitors must ensure the relevant AML regulations are fulfilled before matters proceed. You should also reconfirm your bank details with your solicitor before any monies are transferred.
  5. Mortgages. If you are obtaining a mortgage, your solicitor acts for you and your mortgage lender equally. We will review the mortgage instructions and determine if the title meets your lender’s requirements.

The guide is available to download on the Law Society’s website which you can find linked below.

If you are buying or selling a property in Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland and require legal advice, or want to know more about the conveyancing process, please contact the Conveyancing Team at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.

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