Shared Direction Conveyancing: Why use a specialist Shared Ownership solicitor?
Hear from the specialist Shared Ownership legal firm
Walk down any high street and you will find a firm of solicitors offering conveyancing services. However, the vast majority of these will have little or no experience of affordable housing schemes.
Although it has been around for many years, it is only in more recent years that Shared Ownership has become more prevalent. Likewise in recent years, various Equity Loan and Discount Purchase Price schemes have been introduced. However, affordable housing is still only a comparatively small proportion of the overall housing sector, and most solicitors still see affordable housing conveyancing as more complex than “ordinary” conveyancing.
Indeed, those solicitors aren’t wrong, affordable housing conveyancing can be more complicated for a number of reasons:
- Shared Ownership leases contain many provisions that you won’t find in other leases.
- Mortgages must be approved by the housing association the property is being purchased through, and lenders have more detailed requirements.
- The legal paperwork for new-build properties is extensive. However, it tends to be similar for all plots, so it is more efficient for a solicitor to act for multiple buyers on a development.
There are some mortgage lenders who only have a limited number of conveyancing firms on their panel that they trust to act for them on Shared Ownership cases. A buyer who instructs a firm of solicitors who doesn’t specialise in affordable housing may therefore end up paying two sets of legal fees – their own solicitor’s fees for the conveyancing and their lender’s legal fees too. Housing associations, and the mortgage brokers they work with, will also often have panels of solicitors that they recommend who specialise in affordable housing.
Buyers can be distrustful of using a firm of solicitors who has been recommended, fearing that they won’t be sufficiently independent. Although this is a natural concern and people may often wish to use a more local firm, buyers should understand that their solicitor is duty bound to act in their best interests and is acting for them not the seller. Buyers should also keep in mind that as not all regular high street solicitors are familiar with affordable housing products, that they will probably charge more for the conveyancing and generally take longer when dealing with such cases.
Therefore, in conclusion, using a firm which specialises in affordable housing or one which is on a “panel” as explained above, means that you will be looked after by an expert who will most likely charge less and generally proceed quicker than if you used a conventional high street solicitor; in keeping with the housing association or developer’s purchase timelines.
Shared Direction Conveyancing is a niche firm with over 25 years’ experience solely offering conveyancing for new-build Shared Ownership purchases. Demerged from Direction Law (which was one of the largest specialist affordable housing solicitors in the country), we are a friendly, professional firm with over 50 members of staff who aim to communicate with our clients, clearly and concisely. For further information visit www.sdc-legal.co.uk or for an instant quotation call 0808 273 0273.
– Andrew Theoff, Operations Director
Share to Buy is a one stop shop for affordable homes. On our website, you can search for properties, compare mortgages and find out all you need to know about alternative home-buying schemes such as Shared Ownership via our article index.