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House Buying,Selling & Conveyancing Paperback – 26 May 2004
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An excellent book - easy to read, clear, with different passages
for buyers and sellers.
The Observer -- The Observer
About the Author
Joseph Bradshaw was an estate agent and mortgage broker who achieved a degree fame in the 1980s when, from their garage and kitchen, he and his wife Margaret published a series of his books on DIY conveyancing. 'Bradshaw's Guide to House Buying Selling and Conveyancing' was widely reviewed in the press. From the 'Financial Times' to 'Gardener's Weekly', it made headlines. Among the many accolades he earned, his favourite was 'the guru of layperson conveyancing' from the Legal Correspondent of The Times. Joseph Bradshaw died in 1998. This sixth edition published by Lawpack is a revised version of Joe Bradshaw's original, fully updated in line with current procedures and regulations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Of particular note with respect to a purchase:
- the book says you can do the Stamp Duty Land Tax transaction on line - you can't - a private individual can only use the paper method (and you need to allow plenty of time to get the form from HMRC and return it in time to get the payment certificate within the month allowed to register the transfer)
- and it says you can get your identity verified at a Land Registry office at any time and then send in the identity document with all the other papers when ready - you can't - you can only get the identity and the transfer itself done at the same appointment (and again, you need to book that appointment early to make sure you can get it done within the month)
The book illustrates beautifully that conveyancing is dead simple. There is no need to study rocket science: all that is required is the patience to fill in a few forms. Oh, and the confidence to talk to your vendor/buyer. You have to do these things whether or not you appoint a solicitor. So what are you paying a solicitor for?
With websites, such as ,.., offering "private sale" facilities, it is becoming easier to remove the cost of useless agents and greedy lawyers, to the benefit of anybody involved in conveyancing.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I shall certainly be following it!
(This review is based upon the 1989 edition of the book. The topic will change over time, due to changes in regulation, hence the need to be up to date.)
It's only once the reader is deep into the recesses of the chapter on the completion process, more than halfway through the book, when it becomes painfully apparent that you're screwed unless you've got a solicitor acting for you. This is thanks to the inherent protectionism in the system which the author rails against in earlier chapters, but later admits - without even a hint of humble pie - that lay status is a practical barrier for those selling with a mortgage to pay off on their property, or buying with the help of a mortgage (or both).
To put it simply, if you go the DIY route, the lender will charge you roughly the equivalent (in its own legal fees) of what you would have spent on your own solicitor anyway (who would then have worked for your lender for free). And the lender simply won't play ball unless you do the former or the latter.
It's a Catch 22, but it's almost as if the author is in denial about it. For example, a passage meekly tucked away in a bullet-pointed list on Page 145 will leave the reader feeling bewildered and suddenly cheated by the book:
"[Your lender]'s response will also almost certainly include: [...] An account made up of the fees you have to pay its solicitor. [...] This amount would probably be not much less than if the buyer used a solicitor of his own who would act on the lender's behalf for free."
In other words, the whole book is a fool's errand, but this bombshell is inexplicably buried away and flies in the face of everything the author has by now conditioned the reader to believe. It's almost like the disclaimer that he hopes you'll never read - because it brings his own fantasy crashing down - but the publishers insisted he put it in.
There's no doubting the entertainment value of the author's flippant style, but that will come as little comfort to those who buy the book - and faithfully turn its pages - only to find there is little or no financial advantage to be had from following its advice (although, in fairness, there may still be some weight to the author's assertion that the DIYer's efforts may be quicker and of higher quality than those of his "professional" counterpart).
I'm all for "beating the system" and hold no brief for property lawyers. But I fail to see the point of falsely raising the reader's hopes. A clear warning should appear at the beginning (or better still, on the front cover) about the need to use a solicitor whenever money lenders are part of the transaction(s).
However, if you are one of the fortunate few with 100% equity and/or enough savings to buy your next house for cash, you might fancy giving DIY conveyancing a shot with the aid of this book.
From a structural point of view, the procedural compass tends to waver, with a lot of jumping around and bookmarking required of the reader. Frankly, it's a mess. Some kind of flowchart diagram would have helped. There's also a confusing grasp of economics - the author casually suggests spending a few nights in a B&B and keeping your furniture "in the van" if completion of sale and purchase are not simultaneous. By my reckoning, the hire of a 'Luton Box' style van and B&B accommodation would easily cost £150 per extra day, quickly eclipsing the £300-or-so saved on solicitors' fees. Wasn't this book supposed to be about saving money?
I wonder further about the author's grasp on reality when I read sentences like "in the unlikely event that your house is worth under £120,000." Well, it's not at all unlikely if you live in Wales or the North of England, where the average price is below £120,000. (Source: Nov 2011 Land Registry House Price Index).
The chapter on marketing your property without an estate agent won't be the reason that most people bought the book and isn't particularly illuminating anyway; similar advice can be found in numerous other books, magazines and TV shows. You know the kind of thing: a lick of magnolia paint..... (yawn).
The author at some points appears stuck in a different era, suggesting that the seller designs a newspaper advert using "a sheet of Letraset transfers from an artists' shop".
File this one under comedy or fantasy - but not reference.
The only real weakness of this book is in its somewhat idealistic approach with regard to the willingness of solicitors to deal with 'lay persons' and their unwillingness to accept undertakings from them which would normally be given by a solicitor. During the sale of my house, I had to engage a solicitor for the completion stages due to the Law Society sewing up the system so that solicitors aren't obliged to accept the word and undertaking of lay persons. Puts a bit of a spanner in the works - and adds to the cost !