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When to Instruct a Solicitor When Buying a House

Nicola Ryan

Written by

11th Jan 2023 (Last updated on 12th Jan 2023) 4 minute read

If you are looking to purchase a property, you will need to instruct a solicitor to guide you through the legal process. Whether you are buying or selling a property, conveyancers can provide you with advice. They will also ensure that all documents are submitted correctly.

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you should know about instructing a solicitor when buying a house.

This article will cover the following:
  1. When to Instruct a Conveyancing Solicitor
  2. How to Instruct a Solicitor?
  3. What Documents will I need to give my Solicitor?
  4. Why do I need a Solicitor to Buy a House?
  5. What will a Solicitor do?
  6. How to find a Solicitor?

When to Instruct a Conveyancing Solicitor

The best time to instruct your solicitor is once your offer is accepted. Working with a no move no fee guarantee solicitor will ensure that you minimise the financial risk if the sale falls through.

Make sure that you enquire about their fees as well. Some solicitors charge by the hour while others will offer a fixed fee. It’s also best to check whether the quoted price includes VAT or not.

You should start searching for your solicitor when you put in an offer. This will give you the time to fully scope your options. It will also mean that you are ready to instruct them once your offer has been accepted.

Read our guide on How to Find a Conveyancer or Solicitor When Buying or Selling a House

How to Instruct a Solicitor?

You should instruct them once the seller has accepted your offer on a property. How long the process will take is dependent on various factors such as whether the property is freehold or leasehold.

Once you have instructed your solicitor, they will draw up a contract which will then be sent to the seller. This will then begin the negotiations and discussions between your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor.

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What Documents will I need to give my Solicitor?

Once you have appointed a conveyancing solicitor, you will need to provide them with the relevant documents. If you are unable to provide the correct documents, this can cause delays and problems during the process. Bear in mind that leasehold properties require more documentation. You will need to hire a leasehold solicitor who is able to process the purchase for you. This is due to the additional lease and contracts laid out by the freeholder.

The specific documents required can differ depending on the purchase. However, here is some of the information you should expect to provide to your solicitor:

Proof of Address

You’ll need to provide proof of your current address. Examples include a council tax bill or utility bill.

Proof of Deposit

You need to be able to prove that you have the funds to purchase the property. Examples include recent bank statements and a mortgage offer letter if you are taking out a mortgage.

Proof of Identity

One of the most important documents will be your proof of identity. Examples include a driving license or passport.

Proof of Insurance

You will need to present your insurance offer letter if you are purchasing a property using a mortgage.

Why do I need a Solicitor to Buy a House?

Solicitors are qualified to guide you through the legal process of buying a house. The process requires a lot of paperwork to be filled out and submitted. Some people consider representing themselves during the process in order to save on legal fees. However, this isn’t to be advised, especially if you have no experience with buying a property. Paying expert conveyancing solicitors will save you a lot of stress and time in the long run. It will also be viewed more favourably if you are dealing with a mortgage lender.

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What will a Solicitor do?

Your solicitor’s main role is to guide you through the conveyancing process. The conveyancing process takes approximately between 8 and 12 weeks to complete. It begins once your offer has been accepted and ends with the completion when the buyer receives the keys.

Some of the jobs your solicitor will undertake include:

  • Contacting the seller’s solicitor on your behalf
  • Processing payments for disbursements
  • Arrange the exchange of contracts and the completion date
  • They will receive the Title Deed from the Land Registry declaring you as the new owners

Your solicitor will also conduct various conveyancing searches. These will determine if there are any environmental issues or potential hazards that can damage the property. One search is the Local Authority Search with costs differing depending on the local council.

Read our guide on Conveyancing Searches to learn more

How to find a Solicitor?

There are several ways that you can find a solicitor or conveyancer that is best for you. Whether you are a first-time buyer or are buying and selling at the same time, there are various methods you can use to choose a solicitor.

Compare My Move

You can use comparison sites such as Compare My Move. By filling in our simple comparison form, we can connect you with up to 6 conveyancers who operate in your area. This allows you to compare quotes, saving money on your conveyancing fees.


When choosing a solicitor, you need to make sure that they are regulated by either the SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI, or CILEx. Choosing a regulated solicitor means that they are expected to carry out their duties to an exceptional standard.


Lastly, if you want to use a local solicitor, you can ask friends and family for recommendations. They can provide you with an honest account of their experience, giving you an idea of what to expect. You could also ask your estate agent for recommendations, although bear in mind that they may receive a commission.

Nicola Ryan

Written by Nicola Ryan

Nicola focusses on all things moving house at Compare My Move where she writes articles for the advice centre, guiding users through everything they need to know about moving house.

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