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How to Find a Conveyancer or Solicitor When Buying or Selling a House

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

3rd Oct 2018 (Last updated on 18th Mar 2022) 4 minute read

Choosing ether a conveyancer or solicitor when buying or selling a house is essential for a successful transaction. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, you will need a conveyancer or solicitor to take care of the legal aspect of the sale.

With many different companies and options, choosing the right legal representation can be a challenge. However, knowing the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor is vital.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What is the Difference Between Licensed Conveyancers and Solicitors?
  2. What Do Conveyancers and Solicitors Do?
  3. When to Use a Solicitor for Buying or Selling?
  4. What are the Downsides of Using a Solicitor?
  5. How to Find a Conveyancer or Solicitor
  6. Consider Communication
  7. Understanding Fees
  8. Need More Information?

What is the Difference Between Licensed Conveyancers and Solicitors?

Both conveyancers and solicitors are qualified to carry out the conveyancing process. The difference mostly lies in their training and expertise.

The two are regulated by different governing bodies. Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), whereas conveyancers are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).

  • Conveyancers are trained only in conveyancing.
  • A solicitor, however, is fully trained in a wider aspect of law.
  • Be aware that solicitors are usually more expensive due to their level of qualification.

What Do Conveyancers and Solicitors Do?

If you're selling or buying a house, you'll need a conveyancer or solicitor to carry out the legal aspect of the transaction for you.

Their main responsibilities will include:

  • Keeping in contact with you throughout the entire process and update you when progress is made.
  • Providing a breakdown of the costs involved in the sale or purchase.
  • Carrying out drainage, local authority and property searches for the conveyancing process for buyers.
  • Drawing up, checking and exchanging 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.

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When to Use a Solicitor for Buying or Selling?

As we’ve mentioned, a conveyancer is trained in conveyancing only. Solicitors, however, are qualified lawyers and will have other areas of legal expertise that they can utilise.

With this in mind, if the transaction is difficult or complicated in any way, you will likely benefit from using a solicitor. For example, if there is a boundary dispute or if you are selling your home during a divorce.

Conveyancers, on the other hand, cannot deal with complex legal issues and may have to refer you to a solicitor if the transaction hits complications. This can cause delays in the process and potentially cost you more.

What are the Downsides of Using a Solicitor?

A disadvantage of using a solicitor is that they are almost always more expensive than conveyancers.

Although it can be an advantage that they are trained in other areas of law, this can mean that they will likely be busy with other, potentially more urgent and complex, cases.

As a result, the conveyancing process may take longer than if you use a licensed conveyancer.

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How to Find a Conveyancer or Solicitor

Finding the right conveyancer or solicitor will give you peace of mind during the whole process. Below, we've listed 4 ways to find a reliable conveyancing solicitor.

  • Use a comparison website like Compare My Move.
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations.
  • Estate agents will also have recommendations, but may charge a commisson.
  • Some mortgage providers require you to use a conveyancer from their pre-selected list of companies.

However you choose to find a conveyancer solicitor, just make sure they are regulated by either the solicitor is Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or conveyancer is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).

Consider Communication

A key part of conveyancing is communication and it is vital that your chosen conveyancer and solicitor is easy to get hold of, responsive and vigilant when it comes to your transaction.

When choosing a conveyancer or solicitor, ask about their response time in dealing with questions and queries, in addition to how long they expect the process to take.

To combat the lag in communication which can be experienced by buyers and sellers, some conveyancing practices now use an online case tracking facility which allows you to access up to date information on your transactions throughout the process.

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Understanding Fees

When it comes to the cost of conveyancing, like many things, cheapest is not always best. Also be aware with cheap conveyancing - or any conveyancing for that matter - that there are no hidden fees.

Be wary of any quote that does not break down the cost of the service. Ask for a fully itemised and avoid conveyancers or solicitors that charge by the hour.

If cost is a concern, look for a company that offers a ‘fixed-fee’ service as this means you will pre-arrange a fixed conveyancing price. You can also ask if they offer a no sale no fee conveyancing service, meaning you won't be charged legal fees if the sale was to fall through.

Need More Information?

This article is part of our what is conveyancing guide. Next, we explore how long does conveyancing take?

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, 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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