A self build house project diary
by Oliver Cannell
Thursday 19th September 2013
(published/edited Sunday 19th January 2014)

Hiring a solicitor for a self build

So, it turns out I need to appoint a solicitor for a self build project. Not something I had thought about.

When originally buying the building plot at auction, way back in summer 2008, I knew that the process involved the auctioneers (hired by the seller or estate agent) and a solicitor, acting on behalf of the seller, to oversee the exchange of funds (from the buyer's point of view) and my own solicitor to perform all the land registry stuff, checks and financial transfers. Don't ask me to explain all the ins and outs of what they do, as I'm not entirely sure... but in my simplistic mind, they basically make sure it's all signed, sealed and delivered properly.

When applying for a self build mortgage previously, I had briefly hired a solicitor to authorise my identification (passport and utility bills I think) so that the potential lender at the time could confirm my identity, etc. I thought that would be it, as far as needing a solicitor was concerned. However, now that I'm further into the mortgage application process (now with Earl Shilton) it turns out I need to hire a solicitor again to do more... er... stuff.

Their first requirement, was that there should be more than one practising Partner / Director in the Practice / Company. I'm not entirely sure why... but I imagine this is something to do with making sure there is a quick turnaround for requests or maybe just a requirement of their insurance. No idea... but this meant I had to shop around for a new Solicitor, so rather than look around locally to where I live now (Basingstoke), I looked around more locally to the plot. As it turns out, the company I've chosen - QualitySolicitors Farnfields - have a branch in Warminster, but the guys I'm dealing with are actually based in Dorset. The best news, having spoken to them directly, is the guy who's dealing with my files, has dealt with Earl Shilton before and also found them to be excellent. Good news! It's nice to hear this from another independent source.

So what will they be doing?

Again, I'm not 100% sure of all the details... but I know they will be overseeing the financial transactions between the Building Society and me, as I request drawdowns to pay the builder. They will also be gathering all the deeds to the building plot from the previous seller's Solicitor and compiling all the files for the property. They will be performing more Searches to make sure there are no issues with the land and more besides, I'm sure.

Thankfully their fees for the whole duration of the project aren't astronomical - as they aren't usually that astronomical with standard home buying/selling conveyancing process - but it is another significant outlay which I hadn't anticipated. Unfortunately it's not something you (the self builder) can do without... so it's just another cost to swallow.

I can feel some overtime coming on, to help pay for these kinds of extras / essentials.   😕

Next entry: Today… is Day 1 (Tuesday 7th January 2014)

Previous entry: Self build mortgage gets the go-ahead… although I’m not counting chickens yet! (Tuesday 10th September 2013)

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