Finding the Right Conveyancer or Solicitor
Written by Martha Lott
3rd Oct 2018 (Last updated on 19th Mar 2020) 8 minute read
When buying or selling a property, you will need to find a licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to cover all the legal work during the process. They'll conduct all the necessary property searches and ensure that the sale is legally finalised.
Choosing the right property 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, they could delay the entire process, adding costs to your bill and potentially causing the sale to fall through.
When searching for a professional, you should take your time and use a comparison website like Compare My Move to locate the most trusted and verified conveyancers available. However, there are other ways to ensure you find the right conveyancing solicitor for you.
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.
What Does a Conveyancer Do?
A licensed conveyancer or solicitor will be responsible for taking care of the legal aspects of buying or selling a property, such as making the legal payments on your behalf.
Their main responsibilities will include:
- Giving you a breakdown of the costs involved.
- Carrying out utility, local authority and property searches.
- Checking the contracts and redrafting it if needed.
- Raising and resolving queries between both sides.
- Arranging and transferring payments and invoices 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 Conveyancers and Solicitors
Licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors are both qualified to carry out conveyancing duties. Licensed conveyancers specialise in conveyancing, having more of an in-depth knowledge of it. Conveyancers tend to be cheaper in general but remember that they only specialise in conveyancing. It would be better to use a conveyancer if the buying or selling process is going to be a quick or simple one. Don't forget to compare conveyancing costs by using Compare My Move to help you save both time and money.
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. If anything were to go wrong, a solicitor would have a variety of knowledge that stretches further than simply conveyancing. If you know the process will be complicated, it's advised to hire a solicitor.
The choice is yours and which one would best suit your situation is up to you. To help you decide, we’ve added a few scenarios where you must choose between the two:
Conveyancers Vs Solicitors
In certain situations, you might be better hiring a conveyancer than a solicitor, and vice-versa. Here's when you should use a conveyancer and when to use a solicitor.
When to Use a Conveyancer
In most cases, a solicitor will fulfil the exact same tasks and responsibilities as a conveyancer. With this in mind, it’s often advised to use a regular conveyancer if you think your selling process is going to be straightforward. They're still trained to handle any complications that are associated with property law.
When to Use a Solicitor
Solicitors should be used for particularly tricky transactions such as disputes over boundaries. A conveyancer would have to refer to a solicitor if there was an issue outside of property law that they could not solve themselves.
Why Do I Need a Conveyancer?
If you're selling or buying a house, you'll need a 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.
By comparing licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors, you'll not only find a qualified and verified conveyancer, but you will also save yourself time, money and stress along the way.
The Benefits of Using a Conveyancer or Solicitor
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 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. Hiring someone familiar with the process avoids this.
There are a variety of benefits to hiring a professional and experienced conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor:
- 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 a fixed fee conveyancer. 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 reaching out to their previous contacts and will uncover any legal issues surrounding the property.
- They will organise the finances involved in the transaction on your behalf.
Conveyancers ensure complete satisfaction with the contract, improving and finalising them so that you’re content before signing and exchanging.
Where to Find a Conveyancer
Finding the right conveyancer will give you peace of mind during the whole process. You can even choose to work with online conveyancers as the price is often cheaper. However, this won't be as personal as you may be dealing with a few different people throughout the process, opposed to one designated conveyancer.
Below, we've listed a few popular methods to help you find a licensed conveyancer. However, you must be wary before deciding and should weigh up the positives and negatives of each option.
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.
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. This will leave you with a higher bill and a smaller list to choose from as they’ll usually only recommend those paying the highest commissions.
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 or solicitor doesn’t matter as most of the communication will take place via email or telephone. If you do pick a local conveyancer, they’ll have a better understanding of the area which will help when it comes to carrying out property searches.
How to Choose a Conveyancer
You should arrange a conveyancer as soon as possible once you’ve made the decision to buy or sell a house. This is because most of the paperwork will need to be sorted straight away. When choosing a conveyancer, you should influence your decision by reverting back to these factors during the search:
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.
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 price for the job. Make sure they offer a 'no sale, no fee' 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 means that one solicitor may be dealing with dozens of cases at the same time. This means you won't have a personal relationship with your conveyancer and it could delay the process due to a lack of communication.
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 topic 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.
Find the Right Conveyancer With Compare My Move
Get connected with Compare My Move to save you time, money and stress in your conveyancing process. Simply fill in our quick form and we’ll provide you with up to 5 licensed conveyancers or conveyancing solicitors in your local area.