What does a mortgage solicitor in London do?

A mortgage being signed

To anyone who hasn’t bought a house, the terms involved can seem meaningless at best and baffling at worst. What does, for example, a conveyancing solicitor actually do? To the uninitiated, it’s a technical world full of jargon, which we all hope we can get through without losing too much time, energy and money.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are friendly and approachable lawyers in London. Mortgage solicitors such as those at Saracens Solicitors, make a point of giving their clients reports in plain and simple language, so they understand all the facts before making the huge commitment of buying a house.

It helps to know some of the technical terms before embarking on this adventure, here’s a few of the most common:

Conveyancing

This is the practice of transferring the ownership of property. In England, Wales and Scotland, it is possible to work as a conveyancer without being a qualified lawyer, though solicitors do also practise conveyancing work.

Leasehold

Not all properties are owned by the person who owns the land the building stands on. Sometimes the land is owned by another party. This means that the building owner has a long-term leasehold arrangement with the land owner, usually 70 years and over.

Freehold

This type of contract means that the owner of the building also owns the land.

Shared ownership

It is possible to part-rent and part-buy a property. Housing associations offer shared ownership to certain groups, particularly those who are struggling to buy a house in the usual way. The applicant buys a share in the property and also pays rent to the housing association. They may be able to buy a bigger share and eventually own the property outright.

Caveat emptor

This is a legal term – Latin for ‘buyer beware’. It means that the person buying the property is responsible for finding out any issues with it in advance. This is why a mortgage solicitor in London will carry out structural and environmental surveys, to make sure the house and the surrounding area are sound and will hold secure for years to come.