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Do I Need a Conveyancer or Solicitor?

Martha Lott

Written by

12th Aug 2021 (Last updated on 12th Aug 2021) 4 minute read

When you’re buying or selling property in England and Wales, you’ll need to hire either a conveyancer or solicitor to help with the legal side of the process.

While both a conveyancer and a solicitor can help with a sale or purchase, they do differ slightly. The choice will be ultimately yours and will depend if your conveyancing case is straightforward or requires additional legal help.

In this article, we take a look at the differences between a licensed conveyancer and a conveyancing solicitor.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What is the Difference?
  2. Can They Act on Both Sides?
  3. Understanding the Different Regulatory Bodies
  4. Understanding the Referral Fees
  5. Will there be a Difference in Cost?
  6. Should I Use a Conveyancer or Solicitor?
  7. Pros and Cons
  8. How to Choose a Conveyancer or Solicitor
  9. Learn More About Conveyancing

What is the Difference?

Both conveyancers and solicitors can help with the conveyancing process and the service won’t differ. Your conveyancer or solicitor will be responsible for the following:

  • Order conveyancing searches including Local Authority, Environmental and Water and Drainage
  • Liaise with estate agent and mortgage lender
  • Exchange contracts
  • Organise a completion date
  • Transfer ownership from the seller to buyer
  • Pay any Stamp Duty

A conveyancer specialises in just conveyancing and most of the time they won’t have a broader knowledge of other law sectors. A conveyancer can help with:

  • Sale of property
  • Purchase of property
  • Sale and purchase of property

A conveyancing solicitor also does conveyancing but is usually qualified in other aspects of property law including:

Can They Act on Both Sides?

Solicitors aren’t allowed to act on behalf of both seller and buyer, as this is classed as a conflict of interest by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA).

However, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) allow conveyancers to represent both the buyer and seller, which could benefit some situations as well as complicate others.

Some people prefer this for an efficient process and better communication, while others believe that conveyancers who represent both sides can lead to indiscretions and delay the process.

The choice is yours and will be based on personal preference.

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Understanding the Different Regulatory Bodies

Both conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers are regulated but by different professional bodies:

It’s important to only use a conveyancer or solicitor that is regulated by the above. These are the most popular regulatory bodies in England and Wales but there are others that are widely accepted including; Law Society Scotland, Law Society Northern Ireland and CILEx.

Understanding the Referral Fees

It’s common for both conveyancers and solicitors to pay referral fees to estate agents to help gain clients. The only difference is that the SRA requires by law that solicitors disclose their fees to their clients, while the CLC doesn’t require conveyancers to do this.

Will there be a Difference in Cost?

Solicitors usually charge more than conveyancers as they are more qualified in a range of property law.

The average conveyancing fees are £1,000 for selling a house and £1,040 for buying a house at the average UK house price.

Be aware of solicitors or conveyancers who charge an hourly rate as it looks cheap at first, but tends to add up quickly. Most conveyancers and solicitors operate on a fixed fee conveyancing service these days.

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Should I Use a Conveyancer or Solicitor?

Whilst both solicitors and conveyancers offer the same service and follow the same procedure, it’s entirely your decision who to use.

If your conveyancing case is expected to be a difficult one, then a solicitor might be better as they are usually trained in other areas of property law.

If you’re looking to keep costs down and expect a straightforward conveyancing process, then a conveyancer will be best suited.

Pros and Cons

While both a conveyancer and a solicitor can help you buy and sell property, they both come with their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of using a conveyancer:

  • Conveyancers specialise in only conveyancing, which means they experience the conveyancing process on a daily basis. Some solicitors might be focusing on a variety of cases at once.

Cons of using a conveyancer:

  • As they only specialise in conveyancing, some conveyancers might refer you to a solicitor to help if the situation became complicated.

Pros of using a solicitor:

  • Solicitors are typically trained in multiple sectors of law as well as conveyancing, so they can offer their legal help and advice if the process wasn't straightforward.

Cons of using a solicitor:

  • As they specialise in more areas than just conveyancing, they tend to charge higher fees.

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How to Choose a Conveyancer or Solicitor

It’s important to take time to find the right conveyancer or solicitor for you. Below are some ways to help you choose a conveyancer.

1. Ask family and friends for recommendations

You can trust your family and friends to recommend a conveyancer they’ve had a good experience with, but you shouldn’t stop here. You should still shop around and weigh up a few options before going straight for the first recommendation.

2. Check their accreditations

You should only ever hire a conveyancer or solicitor that’s accredited by either the SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI or CILEx. All Compare My Move partners are regulated by these bodies.

    3. Do they offer no sale no fee?

    Ideally, you’ll want to choose a conveyancer who offers a fixed fee and a no sale no fee service. This means if the sale or purchase doesn’t go ahead for any reason, you won’t have to pay the solicitor’s legal fee.

    4. Use a comparison website

    One of the best ways to find a conveyancing solicitor is through a comparison website. By comparing quotes from a few conveyancers, you'll get the best deal for your conveyancing.

    Learn More About Conveyancing

    This is part of our conveyancing guide. Next, we take a look at the regulatory body for solicitors. To learn more read what is the solicitors regulation authority.

    Martha Lott

    Written by Martha Lott

    Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

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