You have chosen the house of your dreams, had it surveyed professionally, made the offer which has been accepted and you are already thinking about curtains. All that remains is the making of a few simple checks to ensure your garage is not destined to become part of the new motorway slip road and that your neighbour does not have exclusive rights to your bathroom on the third Sunday of every month – stranger things have been known. So just how ‘simple’ are these checks?

Many people seriously underestimate the value and complexity of conveyancing. Some have even decided to do it themselves. You can get books on it, just like you can get books on brain surgery, and the risk element in both is about equal.

The object of conveyancing, like surveying, is an insurance against potential future problems. From the simple maintenance of pathways and the proper delineation of boundaries, to the legality of actual ownership of what you think you have bought, the whole business is a veritable minefield of uncertainty. Do it yourself at your own risk, is the only fair warning. Remember, your rights are enshrined in law, but your law is not your sole right and property and you are at all times obliged to work within its rigid framework. If you do not, others will, and will profit by doing so – probably at your expense.

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