DIY Conveyancing Explained
It’s possible to do your own conveyancing when buying or selling a property. But there are many risks that come with not hiring a professional conveyancer as it’s a complicated and time-consuming process.
It’s often recommended to compare conveyancing quotes and hire a reliable conveyancing solicitor if you don’t understand the legal aspects of the transaction. However, DIY conveyancing ('do it yourself' conveyancing) is still a possibility even if it’s not advised.
Can You Do Conveyancing Yourself?
You can do your own conveyancing in certain situations. This is because hiring a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor is not a legal requirement. However, it’s not recommended. DIY conveyancing is possible if you are buying or selling without a mortgage. If you are buying or selling with a mortgage, you will need to hire a qualified professional.
If it’s a simple transaction and you’re confident when it comes to understanding the legal jargon and paperwork, then it could be an option for you.
Read more about the Conveyancing Process when Buying a House
Doing Your Own Conveyancing
Even though DIY conveyancing is possible, there are many risks attached to it. Here at Compare My Move, we encourage the use of a qualified and professional conveyancer.
If you still want to give it a try, you need to think very carefully about the job at hand. Start by using our Conveyancing Fees Calculator to receive an estimated cost of how much you would be expected to pay initially. Here are a few tips and examples of the work involved when doing conveyancing yourself:
- Make sure you give the work the attention it needs as it’s a lengthy process that requires a lot of time and concentration.
- Research the conveyancing searches needed.
- If there’s any legal jargon you don’t understand, research the exact meaning.
- If you’re buying a property, you need to make sure that the seller’s agent sends your details to the conveyancer acting for the seller.
- The seller’s conveyancer should send 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.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the seller for more information about the property.
How Much Could You Save?
Whilst conveyancing fees do vary, DIY conveyancing would only be saving you the solicitor’s basic fee. This can be between £300–£600.
You would still be required to pay the cost of disbursements, stamp duty and other fees even if you attempt conveyancing yourself. If you’re buying with a mortgage, you will be expected to pay for the lender’s solicitor fees regardless.
If you’re concerned about the cost, a cheaper alternative could be online conveyancing. Always remember to shop around and compare solicitors to save you time and money whilst also ensuring the process is done correctly.
When to Avoid DIY Conveyancing
Situations where you should avoid DIY conveyancing:
- 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 filing for divorce or separating
When is DIY Conveyancing Not Possible?
If a mortgage is involved or required for the transaction, then you’ll be unable to do the conveyancing alone.
Buying the property through a mortgage
Your mortgage lender will insist on proper representation. This solicitor will 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 at your expense. You will still be paying the legal fees, gaining no advantage.
Selling with an outstanding mortgage on the property
You may not have the necessary forms to remove the lender’s charge at the 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 lead to the buyer’s solicitor depending on yours to repay the mortgage and provide the discharge documents. Either conveyancer must deal with the redemption.
The Risks of DIY Conveyancing
There are a variety of potential risks to consider:
- You’re alienating yourself from potential mortgage lenders.
- Trivial mistakes 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.
- 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.
- A professional conveyancer will have the experience and knowledge to ensure a smooth and efficient process.