15 ways to speed up your property buying and selling legals checklist


Checklist provided by 


The Society of Licensed Conveyancers

Why we work with the SLC


Avoid going on holiday until your deal is done or allow your legal company to progress things on your behalf, this is a major reason why legals are delayed! If you are going away make sure you have already provided proof of identity and that your conveyancer knows you are going away, when you are coming back and how to contact you while you are away.
Different legal companies charge different prices for their work and this is often a reflection of service, so to secure a proactive legal company, avoid cheap deals. Always ask for a named point of contact with their direct e-mail and telephone number.
Instruct your legal company before you put your property up for sale or if buying, before an offer.
  Find out if the legal company has on-line systems which can speed up the transfer of information and allow you to track progress on-line, or alternatively ensure information is delivered by hand or next day registered post. 
  Have your identity details ready for the legal company to check your ID at the outset of the transaction. Examples are a passport, driving licence, three months of gas/electricity or water bills and Council Tax confirmation.
  Pay any disbursements e.g. searches immediately or this will delay their purchase and the contract. 
  If selling, fill in your property fixtures and fittings form and property information form at the start of your sale, don’t wait for an offer, this allows the legal company to get your contract of sale ready.
Once your offer is accepted, agree a date that you would like to move by, although this might not happen, it helps to focus the ‘property chain’ on a timeframe for exchange of contracts and date for completion. Ask that your conveyancer informs all other parties of your preferred timeframe.
When buying, make sure you advise your lawyer at the outset all the questions you would like the seller to answer so they can be incorporated in the ‘buyer’s questions’ at the beginning of the transaction.
Send the legal company your independent survey so they can make further enquiries.
Offer to help chase for information such as leasehold packs or ask agents about any delays. If you are selling a leasehold property contact the freeholder and/or managing agent straight away advising them you are selling.
Make sure your deposit is in the legal company’s account days before exchange. Make sure that your lawyer knows where the deposit funds are coming from to avoid any questions late in the day (the lawyers are legally required to check to prevent money laundering activity).
If buying with cash or not using your lender’s insurance, have your buildings insurance in place before exchange as the legal company will need to know the policy number and details. Also make sure that your lawyer knows where the funds are coming from to avoid any questions late in the day (the lawyers are legally required to check to prevent money laundering activity).
Organise a meeting either in person, on-line or by telephone with the legal company prior to exchange to go through any last minute queries, and sign the contracts (and return them straight away if it is not physical meeting) to avoid any delays.
If the legal company does not answer calls/emails within 24 hours, visit their offices or make a complaint to a partner.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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