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How to Choose a Conveyancer or Solicitor

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

3rd Oct 2018 (Last updated on 7th Oct 2021) 6 minute read

When buying or selling a property, you will need to find a licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to take care of the legal side. They'll conduct all the necessary property searches and ensure that the sale is legally finalised.

Choosing the right conveyancer can make the whole process a lot simpler and can save you money in the long run. However, if you choose the wrong one, it could delay the conveyancing process, adding costs to your bill and potentially causing the sale to fall through.

We’ve put together this guide covering everything you need to know about finding verified and licensed conveyancers or conveyancing solicitors to help you begin the process of buying or selling your house.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Where to Find a Conveyancer
  2. How to Choose a Conveyancer
  3. What Does a Conveyancer Do?
  4. Differences Between Licensed Conveyancers and Solicitors
  5. Why Do I Need a Conveyancer?
  6. The Benefits of Using a Conveyancer
  7. Learn More About Conveyancing

Where to Find a Conveyancer

Finding the right conveyancer or solicitor will give you peace of mind during the whole process. You should instruct a conveyancer once your offer has been accepted, or you've accepted an offer if selling. Below, we've listed 4 ways to find a reliable conveyancing solicitor.

Where to find a conveyancer

1. Comparison Websites

By using a comparison website like Compare My Move, you'll be provided with verified conveyancers in your local area. It's one of the most recommended ways to find a conveyancer as it includes many of the factors listed here, all combined to help you get as much information about the company as possible. Compare My Move's conveyancing partners go through a strict verification process so you know that you’re receiving quotes from the most trustworthy and professional conveyancers in your local area.

2. Recommendations

Another way to find a conveyancer is through recommendations by people you trust. Many of your friends and family will have gone through the same process and may have received a first-class service worth passing on. Estate agents will also have recommendations, but they will often receive a commission for this.

3. Mortgage Provider's Panel

Some mortgage providers require you to use a conveyancer from their pre-selected list of companies. Many lenders have a strict verification process, meaning their panel of conveyancers are highly-qualified. By choosing a conveyancer this way, you’ll be restricted to a certain list. You may still be able to use an outside conveyancer, but this will cost you more in additional fees.

4. By Location

If you find the perfect conveyancer, but their location is too far away, don't let that hinder your search. The location of your conveyancer doesn’t matter as most of the communication will take place via email or telephone. If you do pick a local conveyancer, they might have some useful knowledge about the area.

To learn more, read what is a conveyancer and what do they do.

How to Choose a Conveyancer

There are certain factors you must look for when choosing a conveyancer. These are 6 steps to choosing the right conveyancer or solicitor.

1. Accreditations

It’s important that the conveyancer is regulated by either the CLC (Council of Licensed Conveyancers), SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) or the Law Society.

2. Reviews and Recommendations

You could choose a conveyancer through recommendations from friends and family as you can trust them to recommend a high quality professional. If this isn’t possible, read over the reviews left by previous clients.

3. Price

Conveyancing is becoming a competitive industry with many companies offering lower conveyancing prices. Look for a company that offers a ‘fixed-fee’ service as this means you will pre-arrange a fixed conveyancing price for the job. Make sure they offer a no sale no fee conveyancing service so you won't be charged legal fees if the sale was to fall through.

4. Company Size

National companies will often be cheaper, but their size could mean that your conveyancer may be dealing with numerous transactions at the same time.

5. Type of Sale

If the process of buying or selling is going to be a complicated one, you should consider a conveyancer that specialises in a specific legal area that you'll need for your purchase/sale.

6. Technology Used

Most modern conveyancers will have portals to explain what is happening with your transaction. Some will even send an automated message stating when a milestone has been met or when a crucial moment occurs. This will help you feel in control of the process and keep you up to date on every step.

What Does a Conveyancer Do?

A licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor will be responsible for taking care of the legal aspects of buying or selling a property.

Their main responsibilities will include:

  • Giving you a breakdown of the costs involved.
  • Carrying out drainage, local authority and property searches for the conveyancing process for buyers.
  • Checking the contracts.
  • Raising and resolving queries between both sides.
  • Arranging and transferring payments for the transaction.
  • Arranging the completion date.
  • Registering new owners of the property with the Land Registry.

Your conveyancer will keep in contact with you throughout the entire process and will update you when progress is made.

Differences Between Licensed Conveyancers and Solicitors

Licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors are both qualified to carry out conveyancing duties. However, there are slight differences to consider.

Licensed conveyancers specialise only in conveyancing.

In addition to conveyancing, conveyancing solicitors are also trained in a variety of legal fields and will therefore have a range of knowledge on property law.

The choice is ultimately yours so don't forget to compare conveyancing costs by using Compare My Move to help you save both time and money. To help you decide, we’ve added a few scenarios where you must choose between the two:

Why Do I Need a Conveyancer?

If you're selling or buying a house, you'll need a licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to carry out all the legal work for you. It's possible to do this yourself but it can be complicated and the process might take even longer if you make mistakes. There is also the potential of risking the entire sale if something is done incorrectly and the transaction is not legally finalised.

The Benefits of Using a Conveyancer

Conveyancing is not always straightforward and, from time to time, issues can arise that will delay things. However, the process is much more difficult when you try to complete it alone.

The conveyancing process for both buying and selling is often a difficult one because it concerns the legal aspects of buying and selling a property, so consulting a professional is always advised. If something was done incorrectly, it could either disrupt the sale, void it altogether or even cause you to complete a task illegally. A conveyancer's job is to avoid this.

There are a variety of benefits to hiring a professional and experienced conveyancer:

Benefits of using a conveyancer

  • A conveyancer will have experience in completing the necessary paperwork, ensuring a more efficient process with less complications.
  • Your conveyancer will be your link between you and the other parties involved in the transaction. They will relay any issues or necessary information. They will be your source of communication.
  • There’s the option to choose between an hourly rate conveyancer or fixed fee conveyancing solicitor. Fixed fee is much more beneficial as you will be sticking to a pre-agreed price that you can prepare for and factor into the total cost of buying a house.
  • Conveyancers perform extensive property searches that can be difficult to conduct alone. They will discover the necessary information by using their experience and reviewing paperwork.
  • They will organise the finances involved in the transaction on your behalf.
  • Conveyancers will review and approve the contract on your behalf, so that you’re content before signing and exchanging.

Learn More About Conveyancing

This is part of our conveyancing guide. Next, we take at the SRA. To learn more, read what is the Solicitor's 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.

Gareth Brooks

Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

Solicitor and Partner at RMNJ Solicitors, RMNJ Solicitors

With 19 years of experience in the residential conveyancing industry, Gareth Brooks is a partner and head of management for the conveyancing department at RMNJ Solicitors.

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