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Once you have accepted an offer on your home, you will need to find a solicitor to cover all the legal work of selling your home. Choosing the right one will make your selling process simple and could possible save you quite a bit of money. But choose the wrong solicitor or conveyancer and they could slow the selling process, add costs to your bill and even allow the sale to fall through.
Recommended: The best way to find a solicitor is through personal recommendations. Ask friends and family, who have moved house recently, who they used and who they would recommend.
Avoid: Estate agents will often recommend a solicitor – but it is best to avoid these. Your estate agent will often receive a hefty commission from the solicitor or conveyancer, which can add a lot of money to your bill, and does not necessarily mean they are actually any good. They will usually recommend the solicitor or conveyancer that pays the highest commission.
Although solicitors and conveyancers will roughly do the exact same job when it comes to selling your home, there are some key differences about their specialisations and practices.
A solicitor is a qualified lawyer with extensive training in many aspects of law. They can offer full legal services, such as taking someone to court. They will often be more expensive than conveyancers, but may not necessarily specialise on property law.
That said, many solicitor practices will hire an in-house conveyancer to fulfil all their conveyancing for them.
Conveyancers receive less overall legal training, but are highly specialised in property. They will often be less expensive than solicitors and must be a member of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
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.
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.
Downsides of Using a Solicitor
Solicitors are almost always more expensive and do not always completely specialise in property law. They may also be distracted with other cases that are more complex and have tighter deadlines than your own.
Solicitors may often insist on seeing you in person to verify your identity, which can be inconvenient for working people. Avoid solicitors whose offices you are not prepared to visit.
A lot of solicitors work in small practices, meaning they will not always have cover for illness or holidays. Always ask what holiday cover they have in place, otherwise your selling process could be severely delayed.
Conveyancers specialise in property law, and so will often be a safer bet to use than a solicitor if you think your home move will be straightforward. Doing so will often save you money and time as a lot of solicitors do not use emails to conduct business.
Conveyancing involves a lot of paperwork, which can slow down the selling process if your conveyancer is not competent or efficient. Some sellers get frustrated with their solicitors or conveyancers:
The best way to find a solicitor or conveyancer is through family and friend recommendations. Alternatively, you can also compare conveyancers through Money Supermarket or other conveyancing comparison websites.