If you research house buying online you will find many websites and blogs give helpful advice on the practical aspects but don’t explain the process after you have found the property you want to call home. Instead, they often simply refer to the ‘complicated legal stuff’ when advising you to instruct a solicitor.
Essentially, you need a solicitor to assist you in making the property officially yours. It can be a confusing process filled with legal jargon and whilst the system can appear archaic and back to front (having to spend money investigating the property title, instructing a survey and obtaining mortgage finance before either you or the Seller commit to the purchase) this article is intended to help simplify what your solicitor is doing for you.
- The Seller, through their solicitor, provides evidence they own the house, along with a plan showing the area they are selling, together with details of any rights the property enjoys or is subject to, and any obligations you will need to comply with whilst you live there;
- The Seller also provides forms giving more practical details of the property (known as the Property Information Form) which includes information on such matters as boundary responsibility, alterations, occupiers, utility providers and a list of items they will be leaving at the Property (called the Fittings & Contents Form);
- Your solicitor will check these forms and documents to ensure any relevant documentation to supplement or evidence the information is provided or obtained, and that the information does not reveal anything to cause concern;
- Your solicitor will carry out relevant searches with Local Authorities, Water Companies, Environmental consultants and any other third parties to provide further information about the property, its services and locality held on various registers;
- Your solicitor will make any further enquiries of the Seller arising from the information supplied, or ask for information omitted, or raise any enquiries or concerns that you may have; and
- If you are buying with a mortgage, your solicitor will check the offer and that the property meets the lender’s criteria as suitable security.
This investigation period can take, on average, about four to six weeks, but varies on the expediency of the various authorities contacted and the seller themselves. Once your solicitor is happy with the information provided, you will be advised that exchange of contracts is now imminent. This is the exciting time when both you and the Seller commit to the purchase and a legally binding contract comes into force. It is also when you pay over your exchange deposit. Before doing so, your solicitor will provide you with explanations of their investigations and summarise the information for you in plain English. This is when you can ask questions to make sure you understand what you are about to buy and any financial or other commitments you will become responsible for before you sign any documents.
Once you are happy you want to go ahead, the solicitor is satisfied the title is good and any issues have been resolved or managed, you then pay over the deposit money to your solicitor, sign the Contract, and any other forms, and agree a completion date with the Seller. Typically, a completion takes place about two weeks after exchange to allow you to make necessary arrangements such as hiring removals, obtaining finance and contacting utility/web suppliers.
Once you and the Seller (and any other parties in the chain) are happy to go ahead, then the solicitors involved will agree an exchange of contracts on your behalf and the completion date (more excitingly known as the ‘move-in date’) will be agreed. Although it might seem an anxious wait for confirmation the deal has gone through, you will be told the good news as soon as the solicitors have finalised the technicalities on your behalf. All in all, a typical time line from the first steps above to when you can collect the keys is approximately two months.
Whilst the solicitor will still be busy carrying out the final pre-completion checks, arranging the transfer of funds and then attending to the post-completion formalities for you, your wait is nearly over – you will soon be a proud homeowner and can start planning that house warming party.
(Based on a freehold purchase)
Author – Rachel Craddy, Associate in our Conveyancing Team, Exeter
Family Law team to offer Surrogacy and Fertility Law services
Everys Solicitors is pleased to welcome Solicitor Anne-Marie Hamer to its Family Law team. A highly experienced lawyer, Anne-Marie is skilled in all aspects of matrimonial law, disputes, financial resolution and Private Children Act. In addition, Anne-Marie has particular expertise in Surrogacy and Fertility law.
Based in the Taunton office, Anne-Marie will provide her services throughout East Devon, Dorset and the local areas in and around Taunton.
With over 10 years’ post-qualified experience, Anne-Marie is an Advanced Family Law Panel member and is also an accredited Collaborative lawyer. Prior to joining Everys, Anne-Marie was head-hunted by Michelmores to help grow their team.
Commenting on the appointment, Gail Salway, Head of the Family Law team, said: “Anne-Marie is one of only a handful of lawyers, nationwide, specialising in this frequently complex but interesting area of law. Increasingly, we are seeing heartbreaking issues surrounding surrogacy and fertility which necessitated the need to offer a specialist service. Anne-Marie is a dedicated lawyer who is passionate about her practice. She brings with her enthusiasm as well as compassion, and the ability to empathise with her clients. We are fortunate to have Anne-Marie as a member of our team and we wish her a successful career at Everys.”
In recent years, the popularity of surrogacy has risen as couples and single people have become more aware of this option as an alternative to IVF and adoption. The legalisation of same-sex marriages has opened the market for surrogacy further, with same-sex couples wanting biological children of their own. The legalities involved in this area of law make it imperative that expert legal advice is sought.
Photo: Bottom left to right – Anne-Marie Hamer and Emma Benyon-Tinker. Top left to right – Gail Salway and Kris Seed
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With the wonderful news of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting a child in the spring it signifies the every-growing trend that couples are choosing to have children later in life.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (2016) show that the conception rates amongst the 30-34 age group increased by 14.16% between 2006 and 2016, whereas the 20-24 age group saw a decrease of 15.7%. The conception rate for the under 20s dropped by 45.59% but for the over 40s it increased by 10.32% over the same ten-year period. The fertility rate of women aged 40 and over has now more than trebled since 1981. The figures show that even between 2015 and 2016, the conception rates fell amongst every age group except for the 35-39 age range which saw an increase of 1.9%. These results were published on 27th March 2018.
What does this mean for couples choosing to have children much later in life, and what does it also mean for the fertility sector in the UK?
Couples who choose to have children much later in life may well consider all their options first and plan better for the financial cost of bringing up those children. Couples would benefit from undertaking their research at the earliest opportunity and may even consider the freezing of the woman’s eggs, if necessary. It is well known that a woman’s fertility declines after the age of 35 so planning is vital.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is the UK’s independent regulator of fertility treatment and regulates all fertility clinics and providers in the UK. As of March 2017, there were 132 licensed clinics and laboratories in the UK, with the majority providing specialist treatment services covering IVF and embryology. The largest offerings of clinics in the UK are centred in London and the South East. If the trends continue as they are, with women choosing to have children much later in life, then we may well see an increase in the number of clinics across the country, together with the number of family lawyers offering fertility and surrogacy advice.
Having spoken to the HFEA, it is clear that there is an ongoing demand for family lawyers to offer the services of fertility and surrogacy.
For more information, or a preliminary, confidential discussion contact our Fertility expert Anne-Marie Hamer.
Everys Solicitors is pleased to offer its congratulations to Rosie Ridgers and Cameron Evans-Grainger, who have both completed their Period of Recognised Training and qualify as solicitors today, 1st April, 2019.
Rosie joined Everys in 2014 as a secretary in the Family team, moving into a paralegal position in Private Client before commencing her Period of Recognised Training in 2017. She now qualifies into the Private Client team based at Honiton.
“I am incredibly excited to be qualifying as a solicitor,” said Rosie. “It takes a lot of work to get to this stage but I have been so lucky to have the support of Everys behind me and to have the opportunity to learn from such experienced and well respected lawyers. I am really looking forward to my future career as a solicitor.”
Cameron joined Everys in 2016 as a paralegal in the Commercial Property department and has since undertaken his Period of Recognised Training alongside studying for the Legal Practice Course. Cameron qualifies into the Commercial Property team based at Exeter.
Cameron said: “It has been a tough couple of years working and studying, and I have had to make sacrifices but it’s been worth it. I have enjoyed working at Everys and am grateful for the opportunity I have been given here. I am excited for what the future holds post qualification, and I’m looking forward to building my career with Everys.”
Cameron is based at the Exeter office.
James Griffin, Managing Partner said: “Rosie and Cameron have worked incredibly hard and we are very proud of their achievements. They are excellent lawyers and are an asset not just to their respective teams, but to Everys as a whole. We are pleased they chose Everys for their Period of Recognised Training and we wish them every success in their careers.”
Well done Rosie and Cameron; congratulations from us all.
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We have a vacancy for a full-time secretary supporting two/three fee earners in our Private Client Department. Private Client work is a key area of practice at Everys. Our clients include farmers, landowners, and High Net Worth Individuals which gives us a client base to rival any firm in the South West. The department deals with a broad range of work and comprises eighteen members of staff, including both fee earning and support staff.
We are able to offer a flexible location in one of our East Devon offices and a competitive salary. This role will require an organised individual with excellent audio typing skills. You will be confident managing a busy workload and must be able to use your own initiative and work well under pressure. The role also includes the need to support members of the Private Client Department on a remote basis by means of winscribe digital dictation together with assisting with Reception cover at lunchtime and in the event of absence.
The successful candidate will need to be able to:
- Demonstrate excellent secretarial and typing skills with good attention to detail
- Demonstrate previous experience in the use of digital dictation and case management software
- Demonstrate flexibility by assisting with typing for all members of the department by means of digital dictation on a remote basis when required
- Manage fee earners’ electronic diaries
- Demonstrate good organisational skills
- Demonstrate effective communication skills, both written and spoken
- Cope well under pressure, with an ability to work flexibly and cope with changing priorities
- Take a positive and proactive approach to work, anticipating and meeting the needs of the department
- Be competent in using Word and other Microsoft Products (Outlook and Powerpoint)
- Previous legal secretarial experience is essential
- Previous Private Client experience is preferable
This is an excellent opportunity to become an integral member of our Private Client Department and to thrive in a professional and friendly atmosphere. If you are a competent legal secretary looking for a new challenge please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owing to the continuing volume of high-quality work, we are currently looking for a bright, organised, motivated, and experienced Litigation Paralegal to join our Litigation Department based at our Exeter office. Our Litigation Department deals with a broad range of civil litigation work ranging from contentious probate, personal injury, commercial, and property disputes and currently comprises one partner, one senior associate, and one legal executive supported by a team of three secretaries.
The hours of work will be 9.00 am to 5.30 pm with a one-hour lunch break Monday to Friday inclusive each week. We offer a competitive salary, a generous holiday allowance, and many other attractive benefits.
The successful candidate will be required to provide an important contribution to the work of the Litigation Department supporting the ongoing growth and development of the department’s activities, and contributing to the growth of client work and fee income.
You will need to work effectively with clients and other members of both the litigation department and the Exeter office. You will be expected to deal professionally and efficiently with a wide range of work under supervision whilst complying with procedures and working practices.
The role will include the need for the successful candidate to produce the majority of their own documents and correspondence through the use of our case management system and to undertake their own administrative duties.
- To administer and progress (under lawyer supervision and according to experience) litigation files initially dealing with property disputes, commercial litigation, and employment, but with a view to assisting the team with matters as and when required (and other surrounding activities as appropriate), which may include:
- Attending meetings as required
- Liaising with, instructing, and sitting behind Counsel
- Preparation for mediation, hearings, and trials
- Preparing simple witness statements
- Obtaining, collating, and organising documents
- Undertaking research
- Carrying out investigations
- Time-recording in accordance with the firm’s policy
- Preparation of letters and documents using case management software
- Liaising with clients by telephone and in-person
- File opening, maintenance, and closing
- Ability to undertake own filing and administrative duties
You must be able to demonstrate the following:
- At least two years’ experience in a similar role
- Educated to degree level or extensive work-based experience
- Excellent IT skills to include the use of case management software
- A focus on developing and maintaining professional and effective client relationships at all levels, with excellent communication and relationship management skills
- A flexible approach and the capability to work well and flourish within a team environment
- Ability to work effectively with other colleagues internally, both within the wider team and across all practice areas and offices
- Ability to meet financial and non-financial targets together with other broader objectives set for the successful performance of this role
- Demonstrate ability to follow procedures in accordance with professional body requirements – for example, Lexcel compliance, and the firm’s internal procedures together with meeting all compliance and quality targets
- A flexible and enthusiastic approach that demonstrates commercial awareness and business aptitude in making decisions on a day to day basis
- The ability to undertake research, produce required reports and deal with complex documents
- Clear, concise, and effective written and verbal communication skills
- Ability to produce work that is accurate and presented in a well-ordered manner
- Excellent organisational skills
- Forward-thinking with a willingness to embrace changing working practices and pro-actively get involved in the continuous improvement of services, products, and processes
- Ability to meet deadlines and prioritise effectively
This is an excellent opportunity to become an integral member of our Litigation Department and to thrive in a professional and friendly environment. If you are looking for a new challenge, please send your CV to email@example.com.
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Everys’ Residential Conveyancing Department is committed to getting the job right by taking the time to get to know the client and understanding each unique situation. Typical work in the department includes buying and selling, starting out, buy to let, remortgaging, equity release or investing in a new home. Our clients can rely on honest, practical and imaginative solutions, given in plain English. Our friendly and local approach means that wherever possible we offer direct access to the person conducting each file for all our clients.
We are currently recruiting experienced residential conveyancing lawyers. The successful candidates will join a high-performing team and will be required to provide an important contribution to the work of the Residential Conveyancing department, supporting the ongoing growth and development of the department’s activities and contributing to the growth of client work and fee income.
It is likely that you will be at least 2 years PQE or have a similar level of experience as you will be required to successfully manage your own caseload, work confidently with minimal supervision and be able to produce the majority of your own documents and correspondence through our case management system.
You will need to work effectively with clients and other members of the department. You will be expected to deal professionally and efficiently with a wide range of work while complying with procedures and working practices.
- You must be experienced in running your own caseload with minimal supervision.
- You will be required to undertake residential conveyancing work providing a speedy, efficient and accurate service to our clients making best use of the technology in place.
- You will also be required to work with a team of conveyancers, implementing and maintaining procedures to ensure there are streamlined and effective working practices.
- You will be required to introduce new business by developing and maintaining business relationships with referrers in this area of work and this locality. This particularly relates to the introduction and increase of private residential conveyancing work.
- You are also likely to be required to increase the firm’s panel membership work and maintain business relationships with the relevant organisations.
You must be able to demonstrate the following:
- Experience of successfully working in a Residential Conveyancing department undertaking this nature of work.
- A focus on developing and maintaining professional and effective client relationships at all levels, with excellent communication and relationship management skills.
- Successful track record of involvement in both marketing initiatives and activities aimed at increasing fee income both raising your own profile and that of the business.
- A flexible approach and the capability to work well and flourish within a team environment.
- Ability to work effectively with other colleagues internally, both within the wider team and across all practice areas and offices.
- Ability to meet financial and non-financial targets together with other broader objectives set for the successful performance of this role.
- Demonstrate ability to follow procedures in accordance with professional body requirements – for example, Lexcel compliance, a firm’s internal procedures and meeting all compliance and quality targets.
- A flexible and enthusiastic approach which demonstrates commercial awareness and business aptitude in making decisions on a day-to-day basis.
- Clear, concise and effective written and verbal communication skills.
- Good IT skills including the use of case management software.
- Ability to produce work which is accurate and presented in a well ordered manner.
- Excellent organisational skills.
- Forward-thinking with a willingness to embrace changing working practices and proactively getting involved in the continuous improvement of services, products and processes.
- Ability to meet deadlines and prioritise effectively.
Everys has a flexible approach and we are interested in applications relating to any of our offices. Although office based to start with, once the successful candidate is familiar with our working practices, remote working, combined with some office time each week, is also available.
This is an excellent opportunity to become an integral member of our Residential Conveyancing department and thrive in a professional and friendly environment. If you are looking for a new challenge please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org