Information and Guidance
What is a CLC Lawyer??
There are two kinds of CLC Lawyers, both are qualified, professional specialists in property law:
• Licensed Conveyancers specialise in the legal aspects of buying and selling property in England and Wales.
• Probate Practitioners undertake the legal administration of a deceased person’s estate.
CLC Lawyers are also Commissioners for Oaths, which means they have legal authority to administer and witness official documents e.g. affidavits to swear that a statement is the truth. They can sign your passport photo as well.
What to expect from your Licensed Conveyancer?
Licensed Conveyancers deal with the transfer of the legal title of a property from one person to another. It is vital to communicate with your Licensed Conveyancer from the very beginning making sure you don’t get any unexpected surprises along the way. If your Conveyancer is long distance and you are not able to communicate in person, you are still able to converse effectively by email or telephone. It is important you and your Conveyancer establish a means of communication from the beginning. If using a Licensed Conveyancer regulated by the CLC, you should:
• Receive an honest and lawful service.
• Be provided with a high standard of legal services.
• Have your matters dealt with using care, skill and diligence.
• Receive a high standard of service due to your lawyer’s arrangements, resources, procedures, skills and commitment.
• Be provided with a service which is accessible and responsive to your individual needs.
• Not feel discriminated against, victimised or harassed.
• Not receive a service which is below the standard you could expect, however, if you do your lawyer accepts responsibility for this and provides you with any appropriate redress.
• Have your individual needs taken into account should you make a complaint.
• Receive a swift, impartial and comprehensive service if making a complaint.
How much will it cost?
The amount you are charged may vary considerably from lawyer to lawyer. This makes it all the more important that you find this out when you first instruct a lawyer. You should also consider asking two or more different firms to give you details of their charges and how they are calculated before making that decision.
The legal costs you will need to pay to a CLC Practice for carrying out work for you can be broken down to:
• the fees the CLC Practice charges (‘fees’). This is the charge the CLC Practice makes for acting on your behalf. The amount of the fee charged may vary depending on how complicated the matter is and/or how long it takes the CLC Practice to deal with it.
• the charges the CLC Practice incurs and pays on your behalf with other parties (sometimes called ‘disbursements’). The amount of these charges is generally out of the direct control of the CLC Practice and is unlikely to change a great deal between different transactions. Examples of disbursements are the land registration fee, Local Authority searches and environmental searches.
Typical responsibilities in Conveyancing are:
- Offering legal advice
- Researching cases and investigating legal entitlement
- Drafting and preparing legal documents
- Drafting, approving and preparing contracts and leases
- Raising or responding to all enquiries
- Advising on Leases and lease extensions
- Dealing with mortgage lenders and advising on mortgage offers
- Liaising with other legal professionals
- Liaising with Estate Agents, surveyors, Landlords, Management Companies, local authorities, mortgage brokers and insurers
- Where authorised by the CLC, drafting and preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Ensuring compliance with current CLC and Government rules, directives and regulations particularly in relation to Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing (5MLD)
Buying and selling houses
Charges for conveyancing service are likely to be calculated at:
1. a standard fee; or
2. an hourly rate (i.e. the time spent on the particular matter).
A practice will generally charge a standard fee where they can be reasonably confident at the outset about the amount of work likely to be involved and the level of skill required. If additional work becomes necessary during the transaction your lawyer must advise you in writing of any additional charges for such work as soon as it becomes apparent. Some practices may agree not to charge a fee if a transaction does not go ahead, others will charge a proportion of the agreed fee, depending on the stage at which the transaction fails. You will, in either case, still be responsible for any costs the practice has had to pay to others (for example the cost of obtaining a search on the property).
It may be helpful for you to ask two or three practices to give you an estimate. You should also ask how difficult they think the work will be, how long it will take, how often and in what way they will contact you, and who will be carrying out the work. For example, buying a leasehold property may be more expensive than buying a freehold property of the same price.
Conveyancer OR Solicitor OR Legal Executive? – there are actually a few fundamental differences:
There is often confusion as to the difference between a Licensed Conveyancer, a Legal Executive and a Solicitor. However, the point to stress is that all three are highly competent and strictly regulated professionals specialising in the legal work required by home buyers and sellers and in particular the transfer of legal title between two parties (buyer and seller).
In addition to our fees, you will need to budget for disbursements (payments to others e.g. Searches, Stamp duty, Land Registration fees etc.)
What our price includes
Our price includes all of the work needed to deal with your conveyancing transaction. If applicable, this includes registration at the Land Registry and dealing with payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax if the property you wish to buy is in Wales.
Obviously, all cases are different and we will try our best to inform you as soon as we become aware of any issue that might have an impact on the quoted fee.
How long the purchase will take
The time taken to complete the transaction depends on several things. The current national average for a sale and/or purchase is 2-3 months if there is no chain.
The number of houses in a chain will affect the time is takes. If you are buying a new build home, with a mortgage, it will typically take 3 months.
In some cases we may pay a referral fee to an estate agent. The average fee is £100 + VAT. We will tell you if we are paying a referral fee on your case. You do not have to pay this fee. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the advice which we will give to you will be independent and we will treat you the same as any other client. Any information that you give to us is confidential and we will only liaise with the estate agents to facilitate the speedy and successful conclusion of the transaction. We do not act for the estate agent.