18th January 2021
Preparing and collecting all the information for your first meeting with your conveyancing solicitor, whether that meeting is face-to-face or virtual, will get your transaction off to a good start.
Your solicitor cannot start work until they have checked your proof of identity. These ID checks may seem a bit bureaucratic, but they are legally required to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and will help protect you against fraud and identity theft.
Requirements vary from firm to firm, so check with your solicitor beforehand and make sure you have the relevant documents. Typically, they will need to see your proof of your identity, which can be either a current passport or full driving licence. You will also need to send them proof of your home address, for example, a recent utility bill, council tax or bank statement.
Myers and Co use an online verification tool, which matches your ID against your home address, which makes the process quicker and give you additional peace of mind.
If you are buying a property, you will also need to show where your funds are coming from. Your solicitor will explain this in more detail, but the aim is to prove your money has a legitimate source. So, for example, if you have saved for a deposit, then you should produce bank statements showing regular transfers into your account.
One of the first things your solicitor will discuss with you is the various costs and fees. These will include disbursements for searches and application fees, and your solicitor may ask you to pay some money on account. This will allow them to start work and make any necessary applications straightaway. So, check the bank details carefully and transfer any requested sums promptly.
Let your solicitor know if you are working to a particular time frame.
It is not always possible to keep to a specific date, as progress will depend upon third parties and events that your solicitor cannot control. Having a clear understanding of your aims and expectations at the outset will help them to manage your transaction more effectively.
The estate agent will usually send details of the terms agreed to both parties’ solicitors, but you should check they are correct. Ideally, do so before your meeting with your conveyancing solicitor. You can then flag up any discrepancies.
Provide details of your property’s title, including its registered title number if you know it, and the location of any deeds. If you have a mortgage, or are taking one out, then you will also need to give your solicitor details of your lender.
If you are selling your home, your buyer’s solicitor will investigate your title and look for things which could affect his client’s use of the property. Tell your conveyancing solicitor about any title problems you are aware of so they can start addressing them proactively.
They will also ask you to complete property information form which is designed to give the buyer detailed information about your property. It is unlikely that you would complete this at your first meeting, but you may need to discuss some of the answers with them and should gather as much information as possible in advance.
This could include:
If the property you are selling is leasehold, you must also complete a leasehold information form. The information you need to provide includes:
Selling a leasehold property can take longer than a freehold one because of the additional parties and work involved. This means getting as much information as possible ready in advance is even more important.
Preparing well for your first meeting will get your transaction off to the best possible start, but please do not hesitate to ask for clarification if there is anything you do not understand.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.