You’ve just agreed a sale on your home or found the property of your dreams so it’s time to appoint a professional person to handle the legalities of the transaction.
Gone are the days when families had a solicitor for life who handled all things legal. There’s much more choice and competition for your business which tends to mean that there are cost savings to be had. However, it’s important to compare like with like and there are some marked differences between solicitors and conveyancers.
Solicitors are qualified lawyers with extensive training in many aspects of law and are likely to be qualified in other areas other than property. A licensed conveyancing will have had less breadth in their legal training as compared to a solicitor but should be expert in residential property transactions . with this being their sole focus of work. Both have to belong to their respective governing bodies with solicitors regulated by the Law Society [insert link] and conveyancers by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. [insert link]. Many solicitors employ conveyancers in a conveyancing department so don’t get fooled into paying for a solicitor and getting a conveyancer.
The decision to use a solicitor or a conveyancer is likely to be influenced by the type of property you’re buying or selling. Older properties by their very nature come with more transaction history and may have unusual covenants, leases or boundaries. Solicitors are generally more expensive but worth the extra when it comes to understanding these issues.
Moving home can be a stressful time and along with estate agents, solicitors and conveyancers can be a target for a client’s frustration. For example, they may not share your views on timescales, tending to be more cautious, sacrificing speed for what can be at times be seen as disproportionate diligence on matters which might not be material to the transaction
However, there’s a lot of documentation in even the simplest of sales that is passed between all parties in the transaction. Locating, questioning, approving and signing various documents all takes time.and if mortgages are involved, there’s a further layer of communication.
Whichever you decide on, it’s worth considering the following:
- If you’ve moved before and liked the price and service from your previous solicitor or conveyancer then there is a value in sticking with what you know.
- Avoid anyone that charges by the hour as costs can suddenly escalate.
- As a buyer and if you’re getting a mortgage, check which lending panels they’re on. They need to be approved to receive the funds from your lending source. It’s not a problem if they’re not. It’s just an additional expense.
- Consider location if there is a requirement to visit their offices.
- Get quotes that cover the full costs and any disbursements. You may get a low conveyancing quote which is just the professional services and then hit with a raft of hidden costs.