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Solicitor for Selling a House: First-time Sellers' Guide

Martha Lott

Written by

20th Jul 2022 (Last updated on 2nd Aug 2022) 5 minute read

There are many things to consider when selling your house, especially if it’s your first time.

You’ll have to factor in the legal side of selling a house as well as the important steps leading up to this point. This article will explore why you need to use a solicitor for selling a house.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What you Need to do First when Selling a House
  2. Finding a Solicitor for Selling a House
  3. How Much Does a Solicitor Charge when selling a House?
  4. What Does a Seller's Solicitor do?
  5. How Long Does the Conveyancing Process take for Selling a House
  6. What Information do you Need to Provide your Solicitor
  7. What Searches do Solicitors Carry out when Selling a House?
  8. Exchanging of Contracts
  9. Completion Day
  10. Selling a Leasehold Property
  11. When Should you Find a Solicitor?
  12. How Long Does it Take to Sell a House?

What you Need to do First when Selling a House

There are a few essential steps when selling a house. Follow our stages of selling your home to familiarise yourself with the process.

Find an estate agent - An estate agent will help you sell your home and also provide a valuation for the property. They will use their expert local knowledge of the property market to price your home, looking at similar properties in the area, too.

Valuation - You can also get a RICS Valuation Report for a second opinion or if you’re selling your home privately. A RICS registered valuer will carry out the valuation to help you set a price for the sale of your home.

Hire a solicitor - You'll need to hire a conveyancing solicitor for selling a house to deal with the legal aspects. They’ll carry out the conveyancing process which transfers ownership of the property from you to the buyer.

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Finding a Solicitor for Selling a House

Finding the right solicitor for the sale will allow for a quick process. Follow our top tips to find a trusted solicitor when selling your house.

  • Recommendations - Ask family, friends or work colleagues if they can recommend a conveyancing solicitor. Hearing good experiences from people you trust should give you peace of mind when choosing your solicitor.
  • Comparison websites - Using a comparison website to compare conveyancing quotes will give you a range of prices and companies to choose from.
  • Local companies - although you don’t need a local conveyancer to help with your case, using a local company can help. They’ll know the area and have a rough idea of how long the process will take.
  • Reviews - Reading reviews for solicitors will give you an idea of the service they provide.

Do you Need a Solicitor to Sell a House?

You don’t legally need to hire a solicitor to sell a house, but it’s highly recommended. As the process involves legal aspects, a licensed conveyancer or solicitor will be needed to take care of this.

How Much Does a Solicitor Charge when selling a House?

The average solicitor fees for selling a freehold house are £1,270. This includes the solicitor’s legal fee but doesn’t take into account the relevant disbursements. Below are the solicitor’s fees for selling a house broken down by property value.

Property ValueFreehold Solicitor FeesLeasehold Solicitor Fees

Up to £100,000

£1,050

£1,220

£100,001 to £200,000

£1,140

£1,310

£200,001 to £300,000

£1,270

£1,420

£300,001 to £400,000

£1,340

£1,490

£400,001 to £500,000

£1,430

£1,580

£500,001 to £600,000

£1,640

£1,780

£600,001 to £700,000

£1,720

£1,880

£700,001 to £800,000

£1,910

£2,050

£800,001 to £900,000

£2,030

£2,170

£900,001 to £1000,000

£2,100

£2,250

£1000,001+

£2,430

£2,520


It’s important to check if your solicitor offers a ‘no sale no fee conveyancing’ service. This means you won’t have to pay their legal fee if the sale falls through. You may still have to pay for services you’ve already used such as conveyancing searches and your property survey.

Hidden Costs to Watch For:

  • Postage and photocopying - This should be included in your solicitor’s legal fee and not charged to you.
  • Professional indemnity contribution - This is a business expense and should fall under the solicitor’s legal fee.

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What Does a Seller's Solicitor do?

A seller’s solicitor will be responsible for the following:

  1. Drafting the contract
  2. Pre-contract enquiries
  3. Liaise with mortgage lender
  4. Pay off mortgage
  5. Exchange contracts
  6. Transfer money from buyer’s deposit

To learn more, read our article on the conveyancing process.

How Long Does the Conveyancing Process take for Selling a House

It takes 8-12 weeks on average to complete the conveyancing process for selling a house. It could take as little as 6-10 weeks if you’re dealing with a cash buyer or if there’s no property chain.

The process takes less time than buying as you don’t need to wait for conveyancing searches. The main job of a seller’s solicitor will be to put together the draft contacts and answer/ask any pre-contract enquiries.

To learn more, read how long does conveyancing take.

What Information do you Need to Provide your Solicitor

Upon instructing your solicitor, they’ll ask for some important documents from you. Expect to provide:

  • Identity documentation
  • Proof of address
  • Planning permission approvals
  • Fixtures and fittings forms (TA10)
  • TA6 form
  • TA13 form
  • EPC form

To learn more, read what documents do I need to sell my house.

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What Searches do Solicitors Carry out when Selling a House?

Your solicitor will have to order third-party services during the conveyancing process. These are called conveyancing disbursements and are an essential part of selling your house.

  • Anti-money Laundering Check - This is to check if your money is coming from where you say it is. It’s a common search for both buyers and sellers.
  • Title Deeds Copy - your solicitor will have to obtain these through the Land Registry to prove you own the property.

Exchanging of Contracts

Exchanging of contracts takes place between 7-28 days before the completion day. It takes place over the phone between both the buyer and seller’s conveyancer. They both read out the contacts and you agree to sell the house. You’ll then receive the deposit money soon after.

To learn more, read exchange of contracts.

Completion Day

The quickest completion times in the UK are found in Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber, according to data from the Negotiator. It takes just 129 and 139 days for the property to be registered with the Land Registry after leaving the portal.

The East of England currently experiences the longest completion delays. It takes 182 days from leaving the portal and registering with the Land Registry.

To learn more, read completion day.

Selling a Leasehold Property

Selling a leasehold property comes with more legal work for your conveyancer. You’ll need to provide them with:

  • Lease length
  • Lease terms
  • Service charges and ground rent

Solicitor Fees for Selling a Leasehold Property:

There'll be additional fees for selling a leasehold property.

ServiceCost

Solicitor’s Legal Fee

£1,420

Leasehold Property Supplement Fee

£150

Leasehold Management Information Pack

£150-£500

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When Should you Find a Solicitor?

You should begin your search before you list your house for sale. As soon as you’ve accepted an offer on your house, you’ll need to instruct a conveyancer to begin your case. It’s recommended to find a solicitor and let them know you’ll be needing them soon. This gives them time to prepare your case ready to begin.

How Long Does it Take to Sell a House?

Data from the Negotiator shows that it takes 274 days to sell a house. This is the time from first listing the property to the sale being registered with the Land Registry. They claim that over half of this time is consumed with the conveyancing and legal process once you’ve accepted an offer.

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.

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