Do I Need A Solicitor To Sell A House?


House for sale

Yup, this is the predictable continuation from my most previous blog post – which, you guessed it – took a look into whether or not you need a solicitor to buy a house.

The natural next step is obviously to answer the following question: do you need a Solicitor to buy a house?

Unfortunately, the answer to the question is exactly the same in both instances, whether you’re buying or selling (I say “unfortunately” because there’s nothing more mundane than repeating myself with the same ol’, same ol’).

The quick answer: technically, you don’t need a solicitor to buy a house, but you’d be unwise to go without the assistance of a qualified professional if you have no experience in conveyancing. You know you are!

Firstly, let’s quickly go over what “conveyancing” means.

‘Conveyancing’ is the legal term for transferring ownership of property, whether you are buying or selling property.

You don’t need to be legally qualified to do your own conveyancing in England or Wales, so that’s why so many choose to do their own it themselves, as opposed to paying a qualified professional to do it (which typically costs somewhere between £500 – £1500).

So yes, you can do your own conveyancing! Good luck if you go down that route. You’ll need it.

What does conveyancing involve when selling your house?

Typically, conveyancing will include the following:

  • Preparing the ‘Contract of Sale’
  • Conduct all of the title and planning searches
  • Prepare any ancillary documents that are part of the settlement process

Should you do your own conveyancing when selling your house?

As said, many people do conduct their own conveyancing to save themselves from the cost of hiring a professional. The lord knows that selling a house is already expensive enough.

If you feel confident about the challenge, then go for it. I recommend Googling for some help guides – there should be plenty available.

Many manage to successfully do their own conveyancing, while most, miserably fail shortly after starting. Believe it or not, there’s a reason why there are professionals dedicated to nothing but conveyancing.

Ok, enough of the smart-ass remarks. But let’s be real.

From my experience, it’s usually not a good idea to do your own conveyancing without prior experience, because it can be a complicated process, especially if unforeseen complications occur (which isn’t terribly uncommon when buying or selling property) – so having a professional know exactly what to do in those situations can be worth its weight in gold.

I know of many people that have attempted to do their own conveyancing when selling their home, but they got so confused by the paperwork (conveyancing does tend to involve completing quite a few complicated forms), which resulted in waving the white-flag and hiring a professional Conveyor. Needless to say (but I will anyways), if that was done from the start, a lot of time and stress would have be spared.

BTW, you can use a Conveyance Solicitor or Licensed Conveyor

If you want to go down the route of hiring a qualified professional to handle your conveyancing when selling your house, note that using a Solicitor isn’t your only option.

Both a ‘Conveyance Solicitor’ and a ‘Licensed Conveyor’ are regulated professionals that deal with the legal work required when selling and buying a home, so you can use either.

The main difference between the two is that a solicitor is a qualified lawyer, with a background and education in law, which means they are qualified to deal with a wide range of legal issues. Whereas a Licensed Conveyor is only qualified to deal with property law.

Generally speaking, a Solicitor is more expensive (but that’s not always the case), but they can both get the job done.

What about if I’m selling a BTL rental, is the process different?

Nope.

Selling a house is selling a house, there’s no difference in the procedure of legally transferring ownership of property, even if it is used as a rental property. You can still any regular Conveyance Solicitor or Licensed Conveyor to do the job.

However, if the property is being sold while there’s a tenant in situ, you will need to decide how to best handle that situation. For example, will you wait until the tenancy has terminated before you try and sell the property, or will you sell the tenant as part of the package?

If your intention is to flog a property occupied by tenants, you can find more information in my guide to selling a property with tenants. If my memory services me correctly, it’s quite informative.

How much will a Conveyance Solicitor charge me for buying a house?

Typically between £500 – £1500.

The price usually depends on the complexity of the property being sold and the associated circumstances. For example, selling a leasehold property typically requires more paperwork than selling a freehold, so conveyancing fees can cost more in that scenario.

Important: if you decide to use a Professional Conveyor…

If you decide to use a Conveyance Solicitor, ensure they are they are a member of Law Society of England and Wales / Law Society of Scotland and a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.

If you decide to use a Licensed Conveyancer, ensure they are a member of the Council for Licenced Conveyancers.

Where can I find Conveyance Solicitor to help sell my house?

  • Ask for recommendations from friends and family;
  • Use the Reallymoving.com conveyancing quote tool to receive quotes from Licensed Conveyancer and Solicitors;
  • Search for local companies that specialise in Conveyancing;
  • If you’re dealing with an estate agent to assist with your sale (which most people are), they usually recommend their own conveyancing services, whether it be their own in-house conveyor or a preferred supplier. Be warned though, it’s usually an expensive option.

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