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Frequently asked questions

Q.
Your office is a long way away and will be difficult and inconvenient for me to call and see you. Will this be a problem?
A.
No. We work through the post, email or over the telephone. Whilst we are always pleased to see you, we do not ask distant clients to call here.
 
Q.
What about signing important papers?
A.
We send them to you in good time with the necessary explanation.
 
Q.
In any event, won't you need proof of my identity for security reasons?
A.
Yes, but again this can be dealt with through the post and we will send you a checklist showing the acceptable forms of identification once you instruct us.
 
Q.
If I am getting a mortgage I will be asked to pay the Mortgage Company's legal fees. Why is this?
A.
Because your Mortgage Company will appoint solicitors to look after its interests and will make it a term of your mortgage that you pay the fee. Sometimes a Mortgage Company will appoint an independent solicitor but fortunately this will rarely happen to an NBM client since, as you might expect with a firm of our standing, we hold panel appointments with the vast majority of lenders. To have us acting for both you and your Mortgage Company is the most convenient arrangement. Not only does it reduce complication but the fee payable will be fixed in accordance with the scale enclosed.
 
Q.
I expect that there will be a sum of money due to me following completion. How will this be dealt with?
A.
Normally we will send you a client account cheque. Cash payments will not be made but other methods can be considered on request (such as direct remittances to your U.K. High Street bank or building society account). A word of caution, however - if we are repaying a mortgage for you, please do not expect to receive your proceeds on the day of completion. A few days must be allowed for accounting and for your Mortgage Company to advise us of any late adjustments to the account. Where we account to you by cheque and unless you instruct to the contrary we will use ordinary post for amounts less than £1,000. For security reasons cheques for £1,000 or more may be forwarded using the Royal Mail Special Delivery Service, with the small additional cost being included in your final account
 
Q.
But what if there is money due from me to you?
A.
It is a fundamental term of our business with you that before your matter completes we are in possession of cleared funds sufficient to cover all the costs and disbursements of the transaction. We will let you have as much notice as possible of the amount required. We have no facility to offer credit terms.
 
Q.
I am a cash buyer. Why does my money have to pass through your client account? Won't it be cheaper and quicker if I just go to the seller's solicitor and pay the money over at the appropriate time?
A.
An attractive idea to some, but too risky! We cannot protect your interests at the most crucial point in the transaction if we do not have total control over the amount, timing and conditions upon which funds are released. You will lose the protection you gain by employing a solicitor. We will not work this way. Please do not ask us to do so.
 
Q.
If someone else, such as my employer, has agreed to meet my legal fees, will you be able to deal directly with that person?
A.
No. It is by you that we are retained and to you that we must look for a payment in accordance with these terms of business. Your ability to recover those expenses from someone else is not something with which we can be concerned, though if it helps we will gladly send a copy of our bill to anyone you may direct.
 
Q.
If I want a third party e.g. parent or other relation, to oversee any matter will that be alright?
A.
Often we find third parties becoming involved. Whilst we have no objection with this, we have found it as well to lay down a few ground rules. Firstly, we will not discuss your affairs with any person however close they may be to you unless and until you have formally authorised us in writing to do so. Secondly, to the extent that any such communication with third parties unavoidably duplicates any work we carry out charges will be levied.
 
Q.
I have paid off my mortgage. Am I right to assume that your quoted charge 'To Repay a Mortgage or Loan or Remove a Charge' will not apply?
A.
No. In certain circumstances this charge can still arise. This will apply where, although you owe nothing to the lender, the technical process of obtaining and registering the discharge paperwork has still to be done. In these circumstances strictly speaking you still have a mortgage to discharge (and we still have just as much work to do) even though you are in the fortunate position of owing no money.
 
Q.
Your quotation seems very reasonable, are there any hidden extras?
A.
No. The quotation and the explanatory paperwork supplied with it are intended, taken together, to give the fullest possible guidance to the fees and disbursements you may incur. Please note, however, that we can only accurately quote as to our own fees. The amount payable for disbursements can change over time due to Government changes to tax rates and the changing of fees by other bodies such as Local Authorities and HM Land Registry. Please also note that where you are buying a leasehold property, this can also give rise to charges being made by your Landlord. The most common of these are that if you are selling, your current Landlord will generally charge you to supply an information pack containing key information needed by your Buyer's solicitor. Where you are buying, a fee is normally payable to your new Landlord to formally notify them of the change of ownership as required by the terms of the Lease.
 
Q.
Will you deal with requesting the money from my mortgage company?
A.
Yes. Please be advised that once a completion date is set, we will request the mortgage advance from your mortgage company. We will request that they send this to us the working day before completion which means that interest on your mortgage will run from that date. The reason for this is that most mortgage companies send money to us by BACS and this enables the sender to recall the payment on the day of receipt which can cause delay or failure of your completion. Therefore, funds are requested one day early to avoid any risk to you.
 
Q.
But don't some Mortgage Companies insist that their Mortgage is signed in front of a solicitor?
A.
Yes, but only a very small minority and the problem does not usually arise. If yours is one of those rare cases and it is impossible for you to come here, then a brief visit to one of your local solicitors, which we can arrange if you wish, will suffice. A small fee would have to be paid but this would be negotiated in advance and we would consider anything over £25 plus VAT to be too much to pay. Our own fee structure is designed to remain highly competitive even after allowing for the possibility of this small additional expense.
 
Q.
Can I pay by Credit/Debit cards?
A.
Yes, for sums up to £1,000 we accept most major Credit/Debit cards, although there will be a surcharge of 2.5% on credit card transactions. Beware though if you are taking a mortgage, because payment by credit (not debit) card represents further borrowing and as such has to be reported to your Mortgage Company, risking at best a delay and at worst the withdrawal and/or modification of your mortgage offer.
 
Q.
Your quote includes a contribution towards the cost of Indemnity Cover. Why is this?
A.
We are required to maintain Indemnity cover for your protection. NBM is covered for over £2,000,000 for any claim that might arise. By using a Solicitor your interests are as fully protected as is possible for them to be. The cost of underwriting has escalated over recent years to such a level that, in common with many other Solicitors, we have been forced to pass a proportion on to you.
 
Q.
Do you accept cash?
A.
No, we neither make nor accept payments in cash. Payments must be by cheque, Bankers Draft, or electronic transfer from a Bank or Building Society account in your name. Payments up to £1,000 may be made by Debit Card in your name.
 
Q.
When does your service come to an end?
A.
Strictly speaking our retainer ends when completion has taken place and any post-completion formalities are concluded. However, we are always pleased to hear from you and can usually answer without charge those minor queries which can be dealt with without reference to the file. Unfortunately, where the file has to be recovered from storage a minimum fee of £25.00 plus vat will be levied.
 
Q.
How long will you store my conveyancing file for?
A.
Approximately 6 years. After that it will be securely destroyed.
 
Q.
Can I ask someone such as a relative or my company to send you money on my behalf?
A.
No. In the present climate of law and regulation we will not accept money from third parties in any circumstances. If we receive monies from a third party, this will be returned even if it causes a delay in completion. Please ensure that the monies are sent from your own account. Additionally if you are taking a mortgage please remember that solicitors are obliged to report such irregularities to the mortgage company and supply the full facts after obtaining (direct from the provider of the funds) the reason for them sending the money instead of you. At best this is likely to cause a delay and at worst could result in the mortgage company refusing to lend at all. If it is necessary for us to take any action under this heading we will regrettably have to raise an additional charge.
 
Q.
Can I ask you (now or later) to provide me with a breakdown of all or any of your quoted and advised fees?
A.
No. When you instruct us it creates a fixed fee agreement. Accordingly, it is part of the understanding between us before you retain our services that none of our fees and charges is capable of further breakdown. Each is a unit in itself, fixed on market considerations alone, and neither made up of a number of components nor calculated by reference to time-cost, value, complexity, responsibility or any of the other considerations upon which legal fees are customarily assessed. If you think this may cause problems between us later then you should not retain our services.
 
Q.
Are you regulated by the Financial Services Authority to issue legal indemnity insurance policies?
A.
This firm is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority Web site at www.fsa.gov.uk/register. Sometimes conveyancing work involves investments. We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority and so may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. However, we can provide certain limited services in relation to investments, provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If you have any problem with the service we have provided for you then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us, then we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which also provides a complaints and redress scheme.
 
Q.
How do you choose which company to use when you are putting an indemnity insurance policy in place?
A.
We only select products from a limited number of insurers for indemnity insurance but we are not contractually obliged to conduct business in this way. Ask us for a list of the insurers and of the policies provided.
 
Q.
Where I am buying a property with an existing tenant, will NBM deal with collecting a proportion of the month's tenancy rent from them and also deal with the transfer of the tenancy deposit?
A.
No. NBM's standard service does not cover such matters. We may be able to deal with such aspects for you for an additional fee to be agreed between us in advance. We will do our best to assist in such matters but cannot take responsibility for them as it will largely be out of our hands and we would recommend that you arrange such matters directly with the seller or the current Letting Agent.