Updated: Mar 7, 2019
We've just had a most irritating experience. We're near the top of a long chain of 10 house-movers. We have solicitors in Preston. They do Residential Conveyancing. At the very bottom of the chain is a first time buyer down south.
Luckily for me I have Solicitors in Preston near me who are experienced in Residential Conveyancing. Apparently the first buyer was trying to arrange a 95% mortgage with his girlfriend which included a 'builders contribution' and 'help to buy'. This was a complicated arrangement and lacked security. The Conveyancing solicitors had warned about this.
Because his mortgage and additional finance was for the whole value of his flat, and he had no deposit, he couldn't exchange contracts. Eventually the solicitors in Preston agreed on a date when we'd all exchange and complete. Everyone had done all the legal Residential Conveyancing work, got the money in, booked the removal men etc — and then the night before completion, he and his girlfriend had a row and they've pulled out. The whole chain has collapsed. Can we all get together and sue this guy? We had Conveyancing fees to pay too. We would need to get more Conveyancing Quotes and there will be more Conveyancing fees to pay too.
I have every sympathy for you and I'm afraid your story isn't that uncommon. When the housing market goes slow, chains get longer and the ultimate key player is the person at the bottom of the chain — over whom you have no control. The solicitors near me in Preston tried their best. The conveyancing solicitor for the seller of the flat to the first time buyer was right to refuse to exchange — his client would be committing himself to a purchase for which he had no security. So if having exchanged, the first timer failed to complete, that seller would still have to complete his related purchase and would still be bound to sell to the first timer. This would lead to chaos and my Conveyancing Solicitors would not have allowed that. So all the rest of the chain were therefore stuck.
You can't sue your buyer (who's no doubt every bit as frustrated as you) any more than your seller can sue you. But can you all get together and sue the first timer? Well no. The problem is that none of you have any legal relationship with him. And there's no contract either — just his expression of a hope to buy. By law, a contract for land has to be in writing, signed by the parties, and supported by a payment. And that has not happened.
Some conveyancing solicitors' firms like the solicitors near me may offer clients a simple low cost insurance policy to cover this sort of risk at the outset of the transaction or will opt for a no sale no fee policy where the client only pays the out of pocket disbursements. I think that's as good as the system is likely to get — but does nothing for your high blood pressure.
Another scenario that recently took place with a friend of mine in a chain. The buyer at the bottom of the chain is essentially a secure cash buyer purchasing a leasehold property. All the searches and checks had been done. The solicitors had all agreed on a date for exchange and completion. The day before exchange and completion, the buyer at the bottom of the chain no longer wanted to purchase the property because it is leasehold. The buyer had known this from the outset and the whole chain collapsed. Everybody was devastated especially because it was a seemingly secure buyer. This is common in any situation because both scenarios are completely different.
There was nothing the solicitors could do to convince the buyer at the bottom. Once they had made their mind up that buying a leasehold property was going to be problematic for them that was it. Again it was just unfortunate and the buyer can’t be sued legally by the solicitors in Preston.
We here at AMS Solicitors in Preston offer a friendly and professional residential conveyancing service, taking the stress of buying or selling your property. We are residential conveyancing solicitors in Preston who offer quick Conveyancing quotes and competitive Conveyancing fees.