Selling your home can be a stressful and emotional time. Especially if you are selling a family home, or have a complicated sale to navigate.
Having someone who is knowledgeable in property sales to assist you through the process is truly advantageous. But if you are trying to cut costs, you might be wondering, 'why do I need a solicitor to sell my house'?.
Well, it is not a legal requirement to have a solicitor to sell your house fast. But whether you are buying or selling your property, it is a good idea to have a qualified professional to assist you with the conveyancing process.
Conveyancing is the process whereby property ownership is legally transferred from the seller to the purchaser. Conveyancers or solicitors prepare the sale agreement, conduct all property searches, and organize the required documentation to legally sell or buy the property.
Buying or selling property is one of the most stressful times in someone’s life and having a legal professional on your team can go a long way to making the process easier.
What Does A Solicitor Do When Selling A House?
A solicitor will assist with various tasks in the sales process, including:
- Obtain Title Deeds
- Legal advice
- Carry out property searches
- Negotiate a mortgage settlement figure if applicable
- Draw up a sale agreement and distribute to both sides of the sale
- Organize and agree on moving dates
- Deal with the deposit
- Prepare final statements
- Approve the Deed of Transfer
- Deliver property deeds to the relevant party
- Settle outstanding balances
If you are considering conducting the conveyancing process yourself, here is a list of documents that you would need to get together for the sale of your house.
Benefits Of Using A Solicitor When Selling A House
- More personal service
- Someone to be with you throughout the house sale
- Quicker sales process
- Fewer errors in legalities
- Extensive legal knowledge and on-hand advice
- Up to date property sale information
- Able to deal with more complex cases than conveyancers
- Tighter security on your personal information
- You will not be worried about facing expensive lawsuits in the future
Can I Sell My House Without A Solicitor?
Many people do choose to do the conveyancing on their own to save money. However, while some do manage to get this right, many fall back to hiring a professional to assist them due to how complicated the process can become.
Without prior experience, conducting your own conveyancing is not a good idea.
There are many procedures to follow, documentation to acquire, and unforeseen complications that can arise during the sales process.
Hiring a professional can go a long way to making the process smooth and speedy.
In most situations where a mortgage is involved, lenders will push for you to use a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.
At the end of the day, it is possible to sell your house without a solicitor in most cases. But, hiring a legal professional will alleviate your stress, and reduce your risk of future lawsuits. It’s best to let the professionals do what they do best!
How Much Do Solicitors Charge To Sell A House?
Solicitors usually charge around £500 to £2000. The price will typically depend on the complexity of the sale.
A property that is a leasehold, will require more paperwork than a property that is freehold, and will cost you more in the long run.
Solicitors will charge clients either with a fixed fee, an hourly rate, or from a percentage of the property proceeds.
A conveyancing solicitor will generally be more expensive than a licensed conveyancer but they are also able to deal with more complicated sales.
Conveyance Solicitor vs. Licenced Solicitor
When you are selling your house, you can use either a conveyance solicitor or a licensed solicitor. They are both regulated professionals that deal with all the legalities of selling a house.
However, they are different in the fact that a licensed solicitor is qualified in law and specializes in conveyancing, and they can deal with a range of legal issues. While a licensed conveyancer is a legally qualified representative in property law specifically.
All conveyancers can legally handle property transactions, whereas solicitors do not always specialize in this area. They are generally more affordable than solicitors. But, with the extra cost, you will also gain broader property knowledge and advice.
A solicitor is a good idea if your property value is high, or if the sales process is going to be complicated, like with leasehold sales. They also offer a more individualized service so that you can feel more at ease with this already stressful process.
Licensed solicitors are required to disclose any fees they receive from estate agents, whereas conveyancers are not legally bound to do so.
Solicitors are also limited to acting on one side of the conveyancing process, whereas conveyancers can assist on both ends of the sale.
Regardless of whether you have decided to use a conveyance solicitor or a licensed conveyancer, please ensure that they are registered and licensed with the proper authorities.
Licensed solicitors should be members of the Law Society of England and Wales or the Law Society of Scotland. They should also be a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).
Licensed conveyancers should be a member of the Council for Licenced Conveyancers (CLC).
Local (‘High Street’) or Big Firm (‘High Volume’) Solicitors
If you are searching Google for a solicitor, your results won’t necessarily show your local solicitors but will base the search on your needs, such as ‘cheapest solicitors’. These companies most likely won’t be local dealers and will most likely be from high volume legal firms.
Hiring a ‘high street’ or local solicitor offers one on one advice and more personal experience, however, they can be more expensive than ‘high volume’ firms.
These ‘high volume’ firms are sometimes called ‘conveyancing factories’ because they deal with hundreds of transactions every month. They have teams dealing with multiple property transactions and are overseen by conveyancers. The transaction process is faster and cheaper than ‘high street’ solicitors or conveyancers. However, the service is much less personal and you might not be dealing with a dedicated person and won’t have to deal with someone new each time you call.
For simple purchases, such as freehold property transfers, using a ‘high volume’ firm can save you time and money. These firms have systems in place to deal with these straightforward cases in no time!
If you are facing a complicated transaction, like a new-build property or leasehold, then it’s best to use a ‘high street’ firm so that you can deal with the complications personally with your solicitor.
Where To Find A Conveyancer Solicitor In The UK
Many people will get recommendations on a conveyancing solicitor from friends or family, or you can search for local solicitors in your area or ask your estate agent for recommendations.
Some real estate agencies have in-house conveyancers or preferred suppliers. However, while this can be tempting, this is often the most expensive route as estate agents can add extra charges for this.
Whatever you decide, research your options and read reviews online so that you can make an informed decision.
Top Tips For Choosing The Right Solicitor
Get QuotesMake sure that you receive a full quote before deciding on a solicitor. Get multiple quotes from multiple solicitors and ensure that the quote is itemized. This way you can see exactly where your money is going to, and who has the best rates around.
Watch Out For Up-sellingSome solicitors have extra fees added on for unnecessary services. If they have services offered on the quote for things that aren’t required in the sales process, inquire whether these are essential to the process.
Penalties For DelaysSolicitors can add on extra charges if the sales process has been delayed past a certain time. This means that if any unforeseen circumstances delay the process, then you may face extra costs.
Fixed feesThis is the best option for avoiding unnecessary or unforeseen costs. Avoid solicitors charging per hour rates.
A ‘No Completion Fee’Choose a solicitor who uses this policy. If there is no sale, there are no legal fees.
A Bigger Firm Is Not Always BetterBigger firms are not always the best option. Local or smaller firms tend to offer more personal care and attention.
Recommendations From Family Or FriendsMaybe your friends or family have someone they have worked with before in the sale of their home. Getting recommendations from people you trust can help to find someone who is reliable and with a good track record. However, you will need to make sure that their situation is relative to your own and that the specific solicitor will be able to assist with your situation.
Ensure Registration With AuthoritiesAs previously mentioned, solicitors have to be licensed with the Law Society. You can search the Law Society website to find a licensed solicitor.
So, we have concluded that you do not necessarily or legally need to hire a solicitor to sell your house and this can be done yourself.
However, it is easy to see that having someone to assist you with the legalities of the conveyancing process can go a long way to saving you time and money, and less stress during this sometimes complicated process.
Dealing with the sale or purchase of a property is already a stressful time in anyone's life and so having someone knowledgeable and an expert in this process is the better option.
Sometimes it's best to leave the professionals to do what they do best!