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AIBU to ask our solicitor lots of questions?

(14 Posts)
Sweetpea302 Tue 17-Jan-17 12:20:58

I'm in the middle of going through the paperwork for the purchase of a newbuild house and the sale of our current house. This is the third time that I've managed the paperwork for buying a house, but this stuff is DENSE. Many many paragraphs of completely incomprehensible information that I can't make sense of, no matter how many times I read them (side note - why don't lawyers use commas?!).

I'm compiling a list of questions to ask the solicitor and have suddenly become really paranoid that I'm being unreasonable in my expectation of how much I should expect them to explain to me. Is this part of what you pay a solicitor for? I'm not, I don't think, being thick, and I have let some things go that I don't totally understand but that I have to trust is ok. The points I'm raising are for parts that might as well be in another language.

This whole process is really nerve wrecking and I'm petrified that I'm going to trust that I understand the contract enough and then find that we are totally screwed for some reason! Do I have to completely understand everything in the contracts? If so, I might have to go back and do a law degree... confused

Thanks for any input!

VladmirsPoutine Tue 17-Jan-17 12:26:11

This is why you pay for their service. If you need a law degree to understand the contract then someone isn't doing their job. Write a list of questions and don't worry about appearing silly. Buying / selling houses is an expensive game - not one to be taken lightly unless you are a multimillionaire.

Zimmerzammerbangbang Tue 17-Jan-17 12:27:24

It's part of what you pay for but most people just sign. Are they working in a fixed fee? If so you might find there are limits to how much time they will spend. If not, then you can ask but be aware it will cost you!

Zimmerzammerbangbang Tue 17-Jan-17 12:30:57

Oh and plenty of lawyers use commas! I work on the principle that if someone has to read a sentence several times to understand it there's a risk the court could interpret the meaning different to that intended.

ElsieMc Tue 17-Jan-17 12:33:43

I worked for a solicitor many years back undertaking conveyancing. When all the paperwork had been received, contracts drawn up, mortgage offer and searches received we would write out to the client with any issues highlighted within such documents. It is their job to do so. For example, any covenants (restrictions on building/land) rights of way any issues arising in the mortgage offer.

Anything you don't understand you must ask. You are paying them to deal with the legal process and you need to understand what you are signing for before exchange of contracts. Good luck.

Andrewofgg Tue 17-Jan-17 12:36:21

Good luck. Remember that if he asks you to sing the draft contract that is a typo for sign the daft contract.

Andrewofgg Tue 17-Jan-17 12:36:23

Good luck. Remember that if he asks you to sing the draft contract that is a typo for sign the daft contract.

MrsHathaway Tue 17-Jan-17 12:39:46

Definitely ask all the questions you need to, and then say back what you think the answer was, so they know you've got it.

if someone has to read a sentence several times to understand it there's a risk the court could interpret the meaning different to that intended

And the other side will definitely definitely insist that the other meaning was what was intended.

<remembers doing bundles for a case where the crux of the matter was the difference between the words "fabric" and "material">

throwingpebbles Tue 17-Jan-17 12:43:33

Are you on fixed fee or hourly rate? If on fixed fee then ask away, although they may rein you in if you are blowing their budget!! If on hourly rate then the more questions the bigger your bill will be!

They should do a report outlining the key issues

I also strongly recommend that if you have any particular plans for the house - extension etc then you flag that to your solicitor so they can tailor their advice. Also if any boundaries look unclear/ different from on plans then flag those.

I get really annoyed with solicitors who can't write in plain English. My trainees get red pen all over their work until they master the art of writing complicated things in clear and succinct language!

wasonthelist Tue 17-Jan-17 12:47:22

YANBU The process is run by lawyers for lawyers, not the rest of us. The language used is very deliberately bollocks so they can get paid to argue over what it means.

We need a system like Aus where there's a standard contract.

That said, I wouldn't bother asking them to explain, you will never get a straight answer from a lawyer about anything ever - why do you think so many go into politics?

Sweetpea302 Tue 17-Jan-17 12:57:09

I bloody love Mumsnet! This is exactly the reassurance I needed - thank you everyone! I'm on fixed fee, so I'll take your advice and ask away...

And to those of you who actually work in the Law and try to utilise good English - you're wonderful. Go forth and spread the word...!

scurries off to compile a LONG list of questions...

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 17-Jan-17 19:55:55

Your Solicitor should have prepared a document called a Report on Title which should summarise the other docs and search results etc which would be the best thing to read first as it may deal with your queries.

livingthegoodlife Tue 17-Jan-17 20:19:59

wasonthelist - there is a standard contract. its just big bully developers of new build estates love to cram as many addendums and riders on as possible. many conveyances are done purely relying on the standard edition contract.

new build conveyancing is a bit of a minefield. lots of solicitors like to present new build titles to their clients as non-negotiable, this is because developers often don't allow any pre-contract enquiries.

You dont have to accept anything you don't understand, your solicitor (if they are worth their salt) should understand your conveyance and contract inside out. Do be prepared for a higher bill if your appointment runs on!

good luck. dont be shy.

wasonthelist Wed 18-Jan-17 22:35:05

its just big bully developers of new build estates love to cram as many addendums and riders on as possible.

Odd then, that having never bought a new build, I've had to sit there as (on my time) my lawyer gaily explains how "the other lot" were trying to sneak through various clauses. FFS! anyone would think buying a house was an incredibly rare transaction subject to a unique act of parliament for each occurrence. It is a woeful and utterly ridiculous situation.

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