An essential step in the conveyancing process is to find out as much about the property as you can before it is purchased.
The questions a lawyer asks and the answers the seller gives are an important part of the information relied upon to decide whether or not to go ahead with the purchase and help ensure the buyer’s investment is sound. Some of the questions are in a standard format prescribed by the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme under a system called the Protocol. These are the Protocol Forms which usually make up part of the Contract Package. This allows buyers and sellers to follow a process that ensures the right questions are asked and at the right time, and lets both sides know what to expect.
The content of the Contract Package, the Property Survey and Searches also makes sure the buyer’s lawyer asks the right questions and investigates potential issues fully. For example, if a local authority search highlights that there are no planning documents available, but the Contract Package suggests an extension has been built, an additional enquiry would need to be raised to resolve this potential issue.
The lawyer will be looking to identify and resolve title and other issues which could include:
- Lack of access rights
- A short Lease
- An unregistered title
- Breaches of covenants
- Planning and building regulation issues
The information provided during the enquiry stage is incorporated into the Report on Title. It is important that a Buyer is made aware of and understands any potential issues revealed as these will become the Buyer’s responsibility when the purchase completes.