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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Self-conveyancing?

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Julii Brainard answered
The chief advantage of self-conveyancing (besides savings on legal fees) is that you get to understand the whole process much better. At any one time, you know what is happening, what needs to happen next, who is waiting on who. Often when people buy or sell a home they haven't the foggiest what the solicitors are doing, and why it's taking so long. Also, when the other side (the buyer of your property or seller of the property you want to get) makes contact, you may have the ability to reply instantly ~ same day, even. This can speed up the whole process, and prevents you from wondering if your house sale/purchase is at the bottom of your soliciter's in-tray.

The disadvantages of self-conveyancing are many, too. If you mess it up, you can REALLY mess it up. Big errors could end up cost a lot of money or even leave you open to being sued, later. Not surprisingly, most professional conveyancers take a very dim view of DIY conveyancing, and may not hide their disapproval in their dealings with you.

The seller's conveyancer must prepare the draft contracts, and the forms can be hard to get hold of. On the draft contracts, either side may cross out or add legal clauses (and as the contract is written in technical legal language, you as a lay-person may not understand what the changes mean). As a buyer, you have to review and be satisfied with all of the information on access rights, properties boundaries, disclosures by the sellers, etc. Sellers are not obliged to tell you if anything is wrong with the property unless asked directly, so you have to figure out the right questions to ask.

Between professionals, the actual exchange of contracts is usually done over the phone; this is covered by Law Society insurance. But you as an amateur will have to exchange contracts in person. You will also have to be very careful about getting/giving the exact details for completion and the transfer of payment; any errors in these details can derail the whole process. Delays in completion can be very expensive (everybody in the chain will be trying to sue someone for recovery of costs).

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