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When you buy or sell a house a key part of the transaction is conveyancing. This is the process of preparing legal documents and transferring ownership from one person to another. You can do it yourself, but it is often complex and making a mistake could have costly consequences, so most people hire a solicitor or conveyancer to do this work for them.
Conveyancing can be expensive and stressful. That’s why, if we buy your home, we’ll take that job off your plate by instructing and paying for independent solicitors ourselves.
What’s the difference?
Solicitors and conveyancers are both legal professionals, equally qualified to deal with the legalities of a housing transaction.
However there are some differences in the service they provide:
A conveyancer only practices property law. They focus exclusively on property transactions which means they may not have the breadth of knowledge a solicitor does. But their extensive experience of conveyancing should ensure a straightforward sale goes smoothly.
A solicitor practises a wider range of legal fields. They provide the same service as a conveyancer but have knowledge and experience of other areas of law. This is worth considering if your home sale is complicated by issues such as divorce or inheritance.
Online conveyancing services are becoming increasingly popular. They offer a cheap alternative but do not provide a face-to-face or personal service. It’s important to check how a company you are considering charges – for example, what does the low price on their website actually cover? Will there be significant add on costs?
Solicitors usually cost slightly more than conveyancers because of their wider expertise. Fees vary depending on the value of your property and whether there are any issues that require extra work, but you can expect to pay between £400 and £1,500 for conveyancing to sell your home. On top of this there are charges, known as disbursements, for administration such as copies of title deeds, anti-money laundering checks and bank transfers.
If you are buying a home as well this will increase these costs, potentially doubling them. There is usually more legal legwork involved in buying a property and more costly disbursements such as local authority searches and changes to title deeds. Buyers may also have to pay stamp duty.
Choosing who to hire
Understandably, keeping costs down is an important factor when deciding which solicitor or conveyancing service to use. However there are other things to consider, such as:
- Is your solicitor or conveyancer registered with the Law Society or with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers? Always check.
- Would you prefer a no sale no fee service? Online conveyancing firms often offer this to entice customers, but you’ll need to weigh up if this service is right for you. Some traditional firms may also offer this but with an increased fee.
- A fixed fee might be a better option if you prefer to know exactly what costs are coming your way. But you may have to pay these even if the sale falls through.
- If there is an issue involving your property such as a boundary dispute, make sure the solicitor or conveyancer is experienced at dealing with these matters.
- Would local knowledge be useful in the case of your home? If so, it might be worth opting for a local legal professional.
- Ask friends for recommendations and search online for reviews.
Your role in conveyancing
Whether you choose a solicitor or conveyancer, they’ll ask you to send them various bits of information and documentation so it’s worth hunting them down in advance.
These include title deeds, an energy performance certificate, service records for your boiler, electricity safety certificates and proof of planning permission and building regulations compliance if you’ve had major work done. You may not have all of these to hand, so it’s a good idea to give yourself as much time as possible to resolve any issues.
Your solicitor or conveyancer will ask you to fill out a TA6 form (a TA7 for leaseholders). This documents every aspect of your property such as any changes you’ve made to it, who’s responsible for the boundaries and who supplies your utilities. They’ll also ask you to complete a TA10 form documenting all the property’s fixtures and fittings, indicating what’s staying and what’s going.
It’s important to answer these, and any other questions a buyer asks, as fully and honestly as possible. A buyer could chase you for compensation if you don’t.
Working with us
Our aim is to make selling your house as hassle free as possible, that includes helping you with the legal side of things. Not only will we instruct independent solicitors, we’ll pay for them too. That means we’ll take on the job of chasing them and making sure they’re moving the sale along swiftly.
We’ll also be on hand to help you gather together all the documents a solicitor needs and keep you up to date with the progress they’re making.
Conveyancing often causes frustrating delays in housing transactions, either because issues emerge or overworked solicitors have too many cases to deal with. But we specialise in buying homes quickly and only instruct solicitors who can work effectively and at speed. Once we’ve agreed a completion date we’ll stick to it. That means you won’t be making mortgage repayments for longer than you need to.
If you like to chat about the service we offer and how we manage conveyancing, please get in touch.