A Helping Hand through the Door
Shaun O’Connor, Senior Conveyancing Manager explains the legal aspects of local property transactions.
When you’re thinking about moving home, be it for the first or last time or simply your next step on the property ladder; the legal aspects of a property transaction, generally known as conveyancing are often perceived as the most daunting.
Conveyancing is the formal process of transferring the legal ownership of land or property, including apartments. It is our job to look at how prospective buyers, sellers, home movers and property investors can best minimise the legal issues associated with successfully completing a Jersey property transaction.
When should I speak to a conveyancer?
The best time to engage with the right legal team is as soon as you start to consider your next move. It’s imperative that you make contact before you have accepted an offer to buy and/or sell as they have the ability to offer you the worthy advice. A conveyancer should have the ability to identify the terms and conditions of your transactions and highlight any complications that may arise. One of the main priorities of your conveyancer is to make your overall experience as stress-free as possible.
What does a conveyancer do?
A good conveyancer is an experienced and approachable professional employed by a law firm. They work alongside their legal team and are there to guide you through the whole process of buying, selling and arranging finances in relation to a Jersey property.
Of course, there is a lot happening behind the scenes, with your conveyancer dealing with the preparation and approval of the legal contracts, checking the title and boundary information carefully, carrying out the legal searches with local authorities and utility companies and ensuring that all necessary information and paperwork is correct.
You need to be fully aware of all of the facts relating to the property, the title deeds, mortgage documents, boundary checks and legal searches, which should be carried out as early as possible to allow you to make fully informed decisions.
How do you choose a conveyancer?
Many Islanders have a family lawyer who may deal in local conveyancing. There is also a degree of recommendation from estate agents and mortgage brokers. We advise you to contact at least two or three firms for comparison quotes and to also see would you be best suited to you.
Our golden rule is never to make promises to a potential or existing client that we cannot keep. Being upfront from the very beginning about fees and other related costs and creating a realistic timeframe for what you are trying to achieve, is essential.
When we take your instruction, we are duty bound to always put your best interest first, even when potential difficulties arise which may sometimes cause delay or concern.
What information is required?
During your first contact with us, we need the following information:
- The property: the full address of the property you are buying and/or selling, the selling agent or vendor and of course, the proposed price.
- Finances: We need to have an understanding of your financial circumstances, we will need to discuss in detail and in confidence, your funding arrangements, including borrowing requirements, source of deposit funds, method of payment and anything else that assists with the financial side of your transaction.
- Personal information: Compliance requirements insist that we have proof of your ID, your current permanent address, full details of where all the funds are coming from or going to in relation to your property transaction and a summary of your occupation and business activities.
How long does it all take?
Often, Jersey property transactions can be completed faster than you might imagine. It normally takes about four to six weeks from start to finish, which is relatively quick in comparison to the UK or Europe. Every situation or transaction is different depending on the circumstances of the parties involved and variations in certain financial, legal or practical requirements can have an effect. External factors are sometimes out of your control, which may affect the time, taken to achieve completion.
How much will it cost?
Each transaction varies slightly, as everyone is different. Quotes from Viberts are provided on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the property, the specific terms of the transactions and the value as a whole.
Fixed fees based on a percentage of the price of the property no longer exist therefore, these days there’s considerably more leeway which is why acquiring several quotes from reputable conveyancing firms is a sensible way of striking a good balance between competitive pricing and a solid and reliable customer service.
Often you will find that your initial consultation will be free, this allows you to ask as many questions as you like, to gauge which is the right level of conveyancing service for you.
Good communication is vital and it works both ways. You should never feel afraid or confused about the legal and conveyancing process. Your title deeds, mortgage paperwork and legal searches are all in English and you should be able to contact your conveyancer and legal team at any stage throughout the transaction.
If you are not getting the right support or communication then you have every right to question what is happening and demand the very best service and advice, which always gives you the knowledge and peace of mind that you and your property transaction are in safe hands.