Business panel: How does my advocate help when purchasing a property?
Advocate Alastair Hargreaves, partner at Ferbrache & Farrell, replies:
PRIMARILY, the job of the conveyancing team (being a conveyancer and an advocate working in tandem) is to ensure that you will have correct title to the property, that the seller can sell what they are trying to sell and that you, the buyer, will have all the proper rights that you need to enjoy your home. In addition, the conveyancing team will ensure that there are no problems with boundaries and provide you with clarity if any third party has rights over your proposed purchase property.
The advocate and conveyancer fulfil an important role in that, through their firm’s professional indemnity insurance policy, the firm is in effect guaranteeing your legal title to the property. It is key that the correct level of research is carried out at the Greffe to ensure that, for example, boundary information is accurate, and any rights are correctly identified. This may include rights of way, rights to lean a ladder against your wall or perhaps the right to ask you to make contributions towards an access road or drainage.
Although Digimap is a useful tool, it does not determine legal boundaries. The conveyancing team will confirm the boundary positions and features by carrying out paper research at the Cadastre and Greffe before going on site to make sure that the paper research matches what is seen on site. If, for whatever reason, there is a discrepancy, this is normally resolved by a boundary exchange or a conveyance prior to purchase.
The buyer will then be provided with a detailed summary of the research and, at that stage, it is normal for conditions of sale to be signed (and a deposit lodged) for the parties to enter into a binding contract. Nearer to completion, the conveyancing team draft the conveyance document, and your completion account for monies to be settled, and then accompany you to the Royal Court to complete your purchase, either on a Tuesday or Thursday morning. Then begins the buyer’s task to make the house a home.