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DIY Conveyancing Explained

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by

4th Jul 2019 (Last updated on 16th Aug 2022) 4 minute read

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.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Can You Do Conveyancing Yourself?
  2. Doing Your Own Conveyancing
  3. How Much Could You Save?
  4. When to Avoid DIY Conveyancing
  5. When is DIY Conveyancing Not Possible?
  6. The Risks of DIY Conveyancing
  7. Learn More About Conveyancing

Can You Do Conveyancing Yourself?

Yes, it’s possible to carry out the conveyancing process yourself in some situations. However, it’s not recommended.

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. If you’re a buyer or seller using a mortgage lender, then it’s difficult 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 or transfers of equity without a mortgage.

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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. 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

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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.

Learn More About Conveyancing

This is part of our conveyancing guide. In our next article, we explore the conveyancing process for remortgaging. To learn more read do you need a solicitor to remortgage.

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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.

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