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What Makes Conveyancing An Interesting Career?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Conveyancers have to be natural born problem solvers. Dream properties can very easily turn into a legal nightmare. Here are just a few examples of why conveyancing is an interesting career and why conveyancers have to be inquisitive and have a good eye for detail!

You are landlocked!

Imagine a beautiful rural property in the middle of a field, its idyllic. The only problem is you have no legal right of way to actually get to it. Apart from the obvious practical difficulties, it’s going to be really difficult to sell this property or obtain a mortgage!

What can you do? Well this will depend, maybe some rights have been obtained by prescription, perhaps an indemnity policy supported by a statutory declaration is the solution or maybe, if you are really lucky, an express grant of a right of way.

A Flying or Creeping Freehold

Part of the property sits above or below another’s. As long as the necessary rights exist, this should not be a problem, if they don’t, which can be the case, an indemnity insurance policy may be an option depending upon the circumstances.

Lack of building regulation approval

Two issues here. First and foremost is it safe? Would you really want to run the risk of a wall falling down? Another is the risk of the Local Authority taking enforcement action which can be costly.

Lack of planning permission/breach of a planning condition

The risk here is enforcement action by the local authority and upsetting your neighbours in the process. If enforcement action is taken this can be costly and can even result in an order that the offending structure is removed!


Drains can cause issues for a number of reasons. Firstly you need the right to actually use the drains! Secondly has a drain/sewer been built over or access obstructed to it in anyway? Digging up your new expensive extension to fix a faulty pipe or worse still a burst pipe is not going to be pleasant.

Japanese Knotweed

If you find Japanese Knotweed in your garden, you are likely to have problems. It is a particularly invasive plant which can cause structural damage to property. Japanese knotweed needs to be professionally treated and can be a costly and lengthy exercise.

Listed buildings

Usually very beautiful and protected for good reason, however breach the listing, even if the works were carried out by a predecessor, you can find yourself criminally liable.


Neighbours from hell! Very often this will relate to boundaries and disputes can be expensive and difficult to resolve. Take care to check the boundaries of the property accurately reflect plans before you commit to purchasing a property and discuss any potential discrepancies with your conveyancer. Just because they are correct on the ground does not mean the legal documents match.

Flood risk

Sadly a more frequent concern with our ever changing weather. Apart from the obvious practical implications and physical damage flooding can cause, obtaining buildings insurance at an affordable rate can be an issue.

Motorways and railways through the garden or very nearby

Do your research, read the reports your conveyancer sends to you. This will obviously affect the enjoyment of property and the value.


In coal mining areas whole properties/gardens have been known to fall into a hole!

Onerous restrictive covenants

What is a problem for one may not be for another but take note of any covenants – if only one house is allowed and there are two this is a potentially expensive problem!

Chancel Repair Liability

If your property is affected by this you could find yourself having to pay thousands of pounds towards the upkeep and repair of the church chancel.

Development of neighbouring land

This can affect both enjoyment and value. A local search will tell you about the here and now but is property specific. It does NOT cover neighbouring land. There are additional searches that can be undertaken to explore this but of course things can and do change in the future.

Energy Infrastructures

With the focus on climate change many energy infrastructures such as wind farms and solar farms are popping up everywhere. Whilst this is a good thing, do your homework as to whether your property is likely to be affected and how this will impact upon your enjoyment.

Bad Neighbours

The seller’s property information form should tell you about any disputes. Press for further details if these are not forthcoming.

Compulsory Purchase Order

A compulsory purchase order allows certain bodies which need to obtain land or property to do so without the consent of the owner. They are usually enforced if a proposed development is considered to be in the public interest. This may be for building new roads on land that an owner does not wish to sell.

Transactional Issues

The pain of the chain!

If your transaction is part of a wider chain of transactions, no matter how small it can be a ltitle more problematic. Why? You find yourself having to wait for all parties involved to be ready to proceed. Agreeing a completion date with a chain can be challenging as all parties need to agree

The risk with a chain transaction is it could break at any time. It only takes one party to change their mind, causing the whole chain to collapse, potentially taking the transaction back to the beginning.

The waiting game!

The most common enemy in conveyancing can be waiting.

There are so many people involved in a conveyancing transaction, for example, agents, lenders, mortgage advisors, landlords, management companies, search provides and so on. Each will work to their own timescale. This means transactions move at different paces and delays are not always within the control of you or your conveyancer.

This list is not exhaustive, there are many legal issues that need to be checked before you commit to purchasing a property. Of course the likelihood of one property being affected by all of the above is low, but it serves as a reminder as to how your dream home can quickly become a house of horrors. Do your homework and make sure you instruct a good conveyancer to assist you.

If you’re considering a career in conveyancing Daniella Afonso has shared a day in her life you can read it here.

Follow our pages for more conveyancing insights all this week.


More on Conveyancing Careers from Wilson Browne Solicitors

Diary Of A Conveyancer

Conveyancing – Working as a Team

Careers in Conveyancing – The Right ‘Move’ for You?

How Do I Get Into Conveyancing?


Jenny Woodruff


Jenny Woodruff


Jenny is a Partner and head of the Residential Conveyancing Team. She has extensive knowledge of the conveyancing process, including: dealing with freehold and leasehold sales & purchases; new build purchases; remortgages; transfers of equity; shared ownership; help to buy transactions & general property advice.