The process of conveyancing

There has been a number of small but important changes to the conduct of conveyancing (land transfer) transactions, thanks to the attempts by the government to collect more taxes.

The normal time given for closing a conveyancing transaction used to be three months. This is now more of an aim rather than a deadline. People seem to think that lawyers delay conveyancing transactions for some reason. This makes no sense. The fee usually remains unchanged unless there were serious problems which had to be overcome and no lawyer wants to have to wait a moment longer to be paid,especially when the money was earmarked for the 3-month deadline.

Here are the normal steps of a conveyancing transaction in brief.

Step 1. The Vendor’s attorney (VA) prepares an agreement for sale which is forwarded to the purchaser’s attorney (PA).

Step 2. PA peruses the document and makes any corrections. If the document is fine, then Purchaser signs the agreement and PA returns it to VA along with a cheque for the 10% deposit.

Step 3. VA sends to PA a copy of the Agreement signed by both parties along with copies of all the previous documents of title (any deeds, wills, certificates etcetera pertaining to the property or the current and former owners of the property). Any that are missing will have to be replaced. Missing documents are a problem.

Step 4. PA then investigates the chain of title to the property. Investigation involves checking for any court judgments registered against the vendor, mortgages or other conveyances for which documents have not been supplied. Searches are a separate expense that you have to pay for. If your attorney allows you to complete the purchase of a property without a good title,you can sue him. The fees are supposed to be a proportionate representation of the risk undertaken in this respect and the baseline is the Legal Profession (Remuneration for Non-Contentious Business) Rules.

Step 5. PA forwards copies of these documents to the Bank/Mortgagee’s attorney (MA) who also investigates title.

Step 6. MA sends Requisitions to PA. Requisitions are questions relating to the title of the land which the Vendor is required to answer. These usually relate to things such as missing documents, payment of water rates, national insurance contributions where the vendor is an employer, land taxes which are a charge on the land, and the documents which are to be given to the Purchaser at the conclusion of the transaction. Now it also includes a tax clearance certificate in respect of all parties to the transaction. ALL PARTIES. If you know you have not paid the Government any income tax (or even filed an income tax return in the last decade),you should rectify this. Non-payment of income, excise and Value Added taxes is a serious problem. Quickly getting the certificate even when you have paid is hit or miss.

Step 7. PA also forwards Requisitions to VA.

Step 8. VA sends Replies to the Requisitions to PA who also sends her Replies to MA.

Step 9. The draft conveyance (the document which will transfer the property from the current owner to the purchaser) is sent by VA to PA who then peruses it and makes any corrections or amendments and sends it back to VA.

Step 10. A closing statement setting out the balance of the purchase price along with the finalized conveyance is sent from VA to PA for execution (signing) by the Purchaser and is then returned after the purchaser signs to VA.

Step 11. MA sends a statement of the legal fees and other out-of-pocket expenses which are to be deducted from the mortgage monies.

Step 12. A closing is held where VA, PA and MA meet and exchange documents and cheques.

Hopefully this helps. The most cherished clients are those who stroll into one’s office prepared.

Source: (Alicia Archer is an attorney-at-law in private practice)

One Response to The process of conveyancing

  1. Anthony Prescott August 25, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Why would a deadline be an aim. I was involved in a transaction that had 3 deadlines and my Lawyer was asking me to a forth…. I said to him, there is no point in having a deadline, he replied, yes there is…. I said, why? So you can miss it.

    What is the point of having a deadline that is going to be missed. I dont get. We are in the computer age, why would documents take so long to go back and forth in tiny Barbados. The rest of world work on “time is money” and are quick and efficient at turning things around.

    Most things in Barbados are dragged on and sometimes it is very inefficient. If the buying/selling process is no longer 3 months, how long is it now?

    Only in Barbados !!


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