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Can You Do Your Own Conveyancing?

Written by

4th Jul 2019 (Last updated on 30th Jul 2020) 6 minute read

It is possible to do the conveyancing yourself when buying or selling a property, but there are many risks that come with not hiring a professional conveyancer. It’s a complicated and time-consuming process with a range of ways it could go wrong.  

Conveyancing is a rather complex process and it’s often recommended to compare quotes and hire a reliable conveyancing solicitor if you don’t understand it. However, DIY (do it yourself) conveyancing is still a possibility even if it’s not recommended. 

To help you decide which step is best for you, Compare My Move has created this easy-to-read guide to help you with your research and answer any vital questions you have on how to do conveyancing yourself. From the risks involved to when it’s actually possible, we’ve included everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Can You Do Conveyancing Yourself?
  2. Doing Your Own Conveyancing
  3. When is DIY Conveyancing Not Recommended?
  4. Situations Where DIY Conveyancing is Not Possible
  5. The Risks of DIY Conveyancing
  6. Save on Your Conveyancing with Compare My Move

Can You Do Conveyancing Yourself?

In short, yes it’s possible to do conveyancing yourself in some situations, however, it’s not usually recommended. If it’s a simple transaction and you are confident when it comes to understanding the legal jargon and paperwork, then it could be an option for you. However, if you’re a buyer or seller using a mortgage lender, then it’s usually impossible to complete the process without a registered solicitor. 

The most feasible situation for DIY conveyancing to occur is when you’re buying or selling a property without a mortgage or outstanding mortgage. It’s also possible to do your own conveyancing through Deeds of Gift (transfers with no money) or transfers of equity without a mortgage. If you still decide to continue alone, ensure you research the process well and are familiar with the tasks at hand.  

DIY conveyancing can cut your conveyancing costs slightly, but if you’re concerned about the price, then using Compare My Move’s free service to compare quotes would be a much simpler answer. There are many risks that come with doing the conveyancing yourself. If you're worried about what could happen but don’t feel like you can afford a professional conveyancing solicitor, then consider using Compare My Move to find someone within your budget and compare some of the best conveyancers. Another cheap option would be online conveyancing where you can find qualified and registered conveyancers at a more manageable price.

Doing Your Own Conveyancing

Here at Compare My Move, we encourage the use of a qualified and professional conveyancer. Even though DIY conveyancing is possible, there are many risks attached to it. However, if you still want to give it a try, you need to think very carefully about the job at hand and the paperwork included. To begin your research, here are a few tips and examples of the work involved that will help you decide if you want to do the conveyancing yourself:

  • Make sure you give the work the attention it needs. It’s a lengthy process that requires a lot of time and concentration. 
  • Research the conveyancing searches needed. Make sure you can interpret the results, scrutinise the dates and can handle any problems that may result from them.
  • If there’s any legal jargon you don’t understand, don’t continue blindly. Research the exact meaning. 
  • If you’re buying a property, you need to make sure that the seller’s agent sends your details onto the conveyancer acting for the seller.
  • The seller’s conveyancer should send you a draft of the contract as well as other necessary legal documents. 
  • You will need to check the contract details and legal papers to see if there are any complications regarding the legal title of the property.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for more information about the property as you need to know the exact circumstances surrounding it. 

These are only the initial steps and a few tips about doing the conveyancing yourself. It’s a complicated process and even after completion, there’s still a lot of paperwork to go through. If it’s a simple transaction involving a flat, apartment or house, then it’s more likely to be a smooth process. But there are still ways that it can go wrong, costing you hundreds in more legal fees. If you insist on DIY conveyancing, it’s recommended to consult a professional for a better understanding of the process. 

When is DIY Conveyancing Not Recommended?

It’s important to note that there are a few circumstances where working through the process without finding a conveyancer is not recommended. There are a variety of reasons for this, from legal complications to the complexity of the work required. The more simple the circumstances, the easier it will be to do your own conveyancing. The situations where you should avoid DIY conveyancing includes:

  • Buying or selling an unregistered property.
  • Buying or selling at auction or through a sealed bid
  • Buying or selling anything other than a freehold property.
  • Buying or selling only part of a property
  • If the property is anything other than a house or flat
  • If the sellers are separating or filing for divorce

Situations Where DIY Conveyancing is Not Possible

Another point to consider is that there are also situations where DIY conveyancing is impossible. If a mortgage is involved or required for the transaction, then you’ll be unable to do the conveyancing alone. Below we’ve provided you with the circumstances where DIY conveyancing is impossible for both sellers and buyers.   

Buying the Property Through a Mortgage - If the buyer is using a mortgage for the transaction, then the mortgage lender will insist on proper representation. This solicitor will then represent both the lender and the buyer. If you inform the lender that you will not be using a conveyancer, they will then instruct one of their own but at your expense. You would still be paying the legal fees, gaining no advantage.  

Selling with an Outstanding Mortgage on the Property - If you’re selling a property with an outstanding mortgage, you may not have the necessary forms to remove the lender’s charge at Land Registry and so cannot hand over the completion. This is because the mortgage lender will not issue the discharge document until after the redemption funds have been received. This would then lead to the buyer’s conveyancer having to depend on your conveyancer to repay the mortgage and provide the discharge documents. Either your own or the buyer’s conveyancer must deal with the redemption.

The Risks of DIY Conveyancing

A conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor will have the experience and knowledge to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Even though DIY conveyancing could save you money and give you a stronger sense of control, there are a variety of potential risks to consider. Below is a list of some of the risks of DIY conveyancing:

  • By choosing to do the conveyancing yourself, you’re alienating yourself from potential mortgage lenders. 
  • Trivial mistakes like carrying out wrong or unnecessary conveyancing searches will result in you spending even more money, potentially paying the search fee twice. 
  • It’s possible to misinterpret search results, which can then cause an array of complications.
  • With DIY conveyancing, you’re at risk of buying a non-saleable property or a property that cannot be registered after completion.
  • As a seller, failure to understand your obligations and responsibilities could lead to you being conned by the buyer or even providing them with the wrong information. This gives them the opportunity to sue. 
  • Professional conveyancers can be held accountable for their mistakes and will have the appropriate insurance to cover themselves. Without one, you are liable for any resulting loss.

Save on Your Conveyancing with Compare My Move

If you decide against doing the conveyancing yourself and need to find a reliable solicitor to help, then Compare My Move can save you both time and money to make the whole process easier. Simply fill out our quick and easy form and you’ll be connected with up to 5 local, accredited conveyancers within seconds.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.