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Finding a Solicitor or Conveyancer

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
12th January 2017 (Last updated on Monday 13th November 2017)

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.

This article will cover the following points

Difference Between a Solicitor and a Conveyancer When to Use a Solicitor When to Use a Conveyancer What Can Go Wrong with Solicitors/Conveyancers? Where to Find a Solicitor or Conveyancer

Difference Between a Solicitor and a Conveyancer

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.

Solicitor

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.

Conveyancer

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.

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.

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.

When to Use a Conveyancer

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.

What Can Go Wrong with Solicitors/Conveyancers?

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:

  • Communication can sometimes be difficult – this can often mean it is difficult to keep track of your case, or to get the answer to any questions you might have.
  • 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. Do your research and make sure you are aware of what your final bill will be. It is more than acceptable to ask for an itemised list of charges before you accept a conveyancer.
  • Avoid solicitors that charge an hourly rate – the amount you pay at the end will often rack up without you realising it.

Where to Find a Solicitor or Conveyancer

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.