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Finding the Right Conveyancer or Solicitor

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
3rd October 2018 (Last updated on Wednesday 5th December 2018)

Once you have accepted an offer on your home, you will need to find a licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to cover all the legal work of selling your home, the same applies if you’re buying a home as well.

Choosing the right property conveyancer will make the whole process simple and could save you money. However, if you choose the wrong one, they could delay the whole process, adding costs to your bill and potentially allowing the sale to fall through.

When you’re searching for a professional conveyancer, you should take your time by using a comparison website to find a trusted and verified conveyancer. Another way to find the best conveyancer is through personal recommendations. Ask friends and family if they have a recommended conveyancer.

We’ve put together this guide covering everything you need to know about finding a verified and trusted licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor. 

This article will cover the following points

What Does a Conveyancer Do? Differences Between Conveyancer and Solicitors What Can Go Wrong with Conveyancers and Solicitors? Where to Find a Conveyancer How to Choose a Conveyancer Why Do I Need a Conveyancer? Find the Right Conveyancer or Solicitor

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 house, such as making the legal payments on your behalf. 

Their main responsibilities will include:

  • Giving you a breakdown of the costs involved.
  • Carry out utility, local authority and property searches.
  • Check the contracts and redraft it if needed.
  • Raise and resolve queries between both sides.
  • Arrange and transfer payments and invoices for the transaction.
  • Arrange completion date.
  • Register new owners of the property with the Land Registry. 

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

Differences Between Conveyancer and Solicitors

Licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors are both qualified to carry out conveyancing. Licensed conveyancers specialise in only conveyancing, arguably having more of an in-depth knowledge of conveyancing. 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 simple and quick process. 

Conveyancing solicitors will be trained in a variety of legal fields in addition to conveyancing, therefore they have a range of knowledge on property law. If anything was to go wrong, a solicitor will have a variety of knowledge as well as conveyancing. If you know the process will be complicated, it's advised to hire a solicitor. 

The choice is ultimately up to you and which one would suit your situation the best. 

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 conveyancers, so it is often best to use a regular conveyancer if you think your selling process is going to be straightforward.

When to Use a Solicitor

Solicitors should be used for particularly tricky transactions, such as if there is a dispute over boundaries. A conveyancer would have to refer to a solicitor in any case if there was an issue outside of property law that they could not practically solve themselves.

What Can Go Wrong with Conveyancers and Solicitors?

Conveyancing is not always a straightforward process, and issues can crop up that will slow things down from time to time. Potential areas of concern are:

  • Conveyancing involves a lot of paperwork, which can slow down the process if your conveyancer is not competent or efficient. 
  • Communication can sometimes be difficult. This can end up in delays to any queries you have and you could lose track of your case. Likewise, bad communication on your behalf can also delay procedures.
  • Conveyancers may initially offer low quotes, but then reveal lots of hidden costs later down the road so make sure you get a full breakdown at the beginning of the process. Do your research and make sure you are aware of what your final bill will be. 
  • Avoid solicitors that charge an hourly rate. The amount you pay at the end will often rack up without you realising it. Look for a 'fixed-fee' service. 

Where to Find a Conveyancer

Finding the right conveyancer will give you peace of mind during the whole process. Here we'll list some popular methods to finding a conveyancer, but be careful to weigh up the positives and negatives of each option. 

Comparison Websites - By using a comparison website, you'll be provided with verified and trusted conveyancers to pick from. You can also chose to go with online conveyancers as the price is often cheaper, but it won't be as personal as you may be dealing with a few different people throughout the whole process as opposed to one designated conveyancer. 

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 in place which means their panel of conveyancers are only the best. By choosing a conveyancer this way, you will be restricted to a list. You may still be able to use an outside conveyancer, but this will cost you more money in additional fees.

Estate Agent's Recommendations - Estate agents will recommend you a list of conveyancers, but be wary as they often receive a commission from their recommendations, leaving you with a higher bill. They will usually only recommend the conveyancer or solicitor that pays the highest commission.

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 will have a better understanding of the area, which will help when it comes to carrying out searches.

How to Choose a Conveyancer

You should arrange for a conveyancer as soon as possible after making the decision to buy or sell a house. This is because most of the paperwork will be sorted straight away. When choosing a conveyancer, you should influence your decision by checking these factors during your search:

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.

Recommendations The best way to choose a conveyancer is through recommendations from friends and family as you can trust them to recommend you a high quality conveyancer from experience. 

Price Conveyancing is becoming a competitive industry with many companies offering lower conveyancing prices or different pricing to get your custom. Look for a company that offer 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. 

Company Size National companies will often be cheaper, but their size means that one solicitor may be dealing with dozens, if not hundreds of cases at the same time. This means you won't have a personal relationship with your conveyancer and it could delay the process. 

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

Why Do I Need a Conveyancer?

If you're going to be selling or buying a house, you will need a conveyancer or solicitor to carry out all the legal work for you. Again, you can do it yourself, but it can get complicated and the process might take even longer if you make a mistake. 

By comparing licensed conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors, you will not only find a fully qualified and verified conveyancer, you will save time, money and stress along the way.

Find the Right Conveyancer or Solicitor

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