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Do I Need a Solicitor to Sell My House?


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26th Oct 2022 (Last updated on 15th May 2024) 6 minute read

Hiring a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer is not a legal requirement when selling a property. However, it is highly recommended. The process of selling a house involves lots of legal work to transfer ownership of the property. It’s common to avoid doing your own conveyancing because it can cause delays and misunderstandings unless you have the relevant legal expertise.

It’s also worth noting that some mortgage lenders will require you to use a solicitor. If you have an outstanding mortgage, then the buyer’s solicitor will also likely oppose you carrying out the legal work.

In this guide, we have gathered everything about the importance of using a solicitor. This includes explaining the risks of selling a house without a solicitor.

  1. What Does a Solicitor Do?
  2. Can I Do My Own House Sale Conveyancing?
  3. Using a Solicitor vs. DIY Conveyancing
  4. Do I Need a Conveyancer or a Solicitor?
  5. What Documents Do I Need to Sell My House?
  6. How Much Does a Solicitor Cost for Selling?
  7. Finding a Solicitor

What Does a Solicitor Do?

A solicitor will guide you through the selling conveyancing process. They will handle the legal aspects of your transaction, ensuring that the process is as stress-free as possible.

The conveyancing process takes between 8 and 12 weeks to complete depending on the circumstances. For example, it is likely to take less time when dealing with chain-free buyers, such as cash buyers and first-time buyers. However, leasehold properties require more paperwork and can therefore take longer to complete.

Here are some of the jobs your conveyancer will be responsible for:

  • Obtaining title deeds
  • Drafting a contract
  • Answering pre-contract enquiries
  • Pay off your mortgage if you have one
  • Exchanging contracts
  • Organising completion day
  • Paying Land Registry fees on your behalf

The buyer’s solicitor will have to undertake conveyancing searches. These searches highlight concerns with the property and area which are discussed with your solicitor. Additionally, your solicitor will also have to negotiate with the buyer’s surveyor.

Can I Do My Own House Sale Conveyancing?

You can do your own conveyancing when selling a house. This is known as DIY Conveyancing and means you can save on legal costs. However, it’s important to bear in mind that you run the risk of delaying the process. Also, if you make any mistakes in the process, this could result in you making payments that exceed the amount you would have saved initially.

There are cheap conveyancing options available. However, the initial quotes provided may not include all costs involved. Therefore, always ask for a full breakdown of the quote.

The best way to figure out a budget is by using our Conveyancing Fees Calculator. This will give you an estimated legal cost when using a solicitor or conveyancer.

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Using a Solicitor vs. DIY Conveyancing

DIY conveyancing might benefit certain property sales. However, you can guarantee a successful process with a legal representative.

From our research, the benefits of using a conveyancing solicitor outweigh not using a solicitor to sell your home.

Using a Solicitor or Conveyancer

Solicitors and licensed conveyancers have the experience to guide you through the legal process. They can offer legal advice throughout and ensure all documentation is submitted correctly and on time.

They will also have the appropriate insurance in place, meaning they can be trusted to get the job done. Most solicitors and conveyancers are also regulated by either the SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI, or CILEX.

The main disadvantage is that they are one of the biggest expenses in the buying and selling processes. In complex cases, this cost is likely to increase, making it the more expensive option.

DIY Conveyancing

You can save money if you choose to do your own conveyancing. It can also work for those who have previous legal experience in the conveyancing process. This is because you will know what to expect.

However, there are a lot of risks involved. Those without legal experience may encounter delays if they have not completed the forms and processes before. This may also result in costly mistakes being made that could end up costing more than hiring a solicitor.

Do I Need a Conveyancer or a Solicitor?

If your sale is more straightforward, you can use either a conveyancer or a solicitor. Both will be qualified to guide you through the legal process.

Those selling complex properties such as help to buy and shared ownership require a conveyancing solicitor. For example, help to buy solicitors will be able to help with the remortgage process as some help to buy mortgages may be portable, but many are not.

Conveyancing solicitors are trained in both property law and conveyancing. This means they are equipped to assist in more complicated cases.

Read more on Finding a Solicitor or Conveyancer

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What Documents Do I Need to Sell My House?

If you decide to forego a solicitor, you will be responsible for obtaining and completing multiple legal documents and forms. The documents needed when selling a house include:

  • TA6 Form
  • TA10 Form
  • TA7 Form for selling a leasehold
  • Home Report for selling a property in Scotland

You’ll also be responsible for drafting a contract at the beginning of the process and answering any pre-contract enquiries. On top of this, you’ll have to liaise with mortgage lenders and other relevant third-party services.

Those hiring a solicitor won’t have to worry about dealing with this, saving you time, money, and stress.

How Much Does a Solicitor Cost for Selling?

The average solicitor fee for selling a house is £1,690. Solicitor fees are typically made up of legal fees and disbursements. The total cost is dependent on various factors including the home’s value, property type, and location.

You’ll face extra costs if your sale requires additional work. This includes:

  • Leasehold properties
  • Shared Ownership properties
  • Help to Buy properties
  • Right to Buy properties

For example you will need to cover the legal costs of the shared ownership solicitor fees which will be in addition to the standard solicitor fees.

Some solicitors charge an hourly rate while others may have a flat fee structure in place. However, a general rule of thumb is the more complex a transaction is, the higher the solicitor fees will be.

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Finding a Solicitor

Compare My Move can connect you with up to 6 conveyancing solicitors working in your area. Simply fill out our comparison form to compare quotes and save up to 70% on your conveyancing fees.

All our conveyancing partners are regulated by one of the following regulatory bodies:

  • Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
  • Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
  • Law Society of Scotland (LSS)
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI)
  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)

This is to guarantee exceptional services for all customers.

You can also ask friends and family for recommendations if they have recently bought or sold a property. In these cases, always make sure you research the firm and read online reviews.

Your estate agent may also offer a recommendation, but bear in mind that they may earn a commission fee if you go with their suggestion.

Need a Surveyor?

Once you've found a conveyancer, you soon might need the help of a RICS property surveyor. Simply fill in our integrated conveyancing and surveying comparison form to get connected today.

You can compare companies through our integrated conveyancing and surveying form by filling out a few extra steps. We will then connect you with local conveyancers and surveyors to save on the whole process.


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