Buying a house is statistically one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through and hearing terms that you don’t fully understand and that you are not sure that you need can add to that confusion.
When going through the process of purchasing a home, it is likely that you have heard the terms ‘solicitor’ and ‘conveyancer’ thrown around. But what exactly do they mean? Do you need one? What do they do? And which is the better option when it comes to conveyancers vs solicitors?
In this article, we will be looking at where in the house buying process a solicitor or conveyancer comes in, the pros and cons of using each service, and which is the best option when it comes to conveyancers vs solicitors.
Looking for a quick answer? Check out our drop-down menu below!
- What Is The Difference Between conveyancers vs solicitors?
- Should I choose a solicitor or a conveyancer?
- The Role Of Conveyancers And Solicitors
- How Much Should I Pay?
- How Long Does The Process Of Conveyancing Take?
- How Do I Find A Solicitor/Conveyancer?
- Pros And Cons Of Conveyancers Vs Solicitors
- Can I Conveyance Myself?
- Why Does The Quality Of Service Matter In Conveyancing?
- Conveyancers Vs Solicitors
What Is The Difference Between Conveyancers Vs Solicitors?
Now you have had your offer accepted on your dream house, you will be asked to begin the legal process of buying a home. This process is called conveyancing, and this is where solicitors and licensed conveyancers come into the picture.
The role that solicitors and licensed conveyancers play in the conveyancing process is pretty much identical, it is their job to help guide and support you through the legal process behind a house purchase.
The real difference between solicitors and specialised conveyancers lies in the knowledge that each one possesses. A solicitor is a qualified lawyer who has excessive knowledge on a wide range of subjects, offer a full scale of legal services, and can tackle complex legal issues. A licensed conveyancer on the other hand has specialised knowledge of property but is not well versed in other aspects of the law.
Should I choose a solicitor or a conveyancer?
Choosing between a solicitor or a conveyancer boils down to a matter of personal preference. As buying a house is one of the most stressful events in life, it is incredibly important that you are happy and comfortable with your legal representation.
How Long Does The Process Of Conveyancing Take?
As a solicitor and a licensed conveyancer undertake the same responsibilities it is important to fully understand exactly what they will be doing. A specialist conveyancer or solicitor is crucial to have during the conveyancing process as they provide knowledge and guidance that is crucial for a successful move. Below are some of the tasks that you will need help from a conveyancer or solicitor for:
A property search is a search that is carried out by either a conveyancing professional or a solicitor in order to find out more information about the property. The information garnered by these searches is not always apparent during a viewing or property survey and can sometimes fly under the radar.
Property searches look for issues such as planning permissions that your would-be neighbours may have pending or council planning enforcement. They will also look at whether or not the property is a flood risk by checking its details in regards to mains water and drainage systems and other environmental factors that could affect your home.
Whether you choose a solicitor or a conveyancing specialist, they will both need to look over the contract sent over from the seller’s solicitor. They will look at the proposed dates for contract exchange and purchase completion, arrangement of deposit transfer, and make sure that all of the agreed fittings and fixtures have been outlined in the contract.
Your solicitor or conveyancer will both receive a copy of the mortgage offer and go through the conditions with you.
Completion day is the day that you receive the keys to your new home and all the money is transferred. However, with so much going on during the day, it is easy for things to go wrong. An example of this would be if you are the other party involved in the sale are in a chain of buyers, and a house sale falls through, this can slow down completion day. Or if the money necessary for the purchase is not transferred over by 3 pm then completion cannot be finished that day and will have to wait until the next day.
Having a solicitor or a conveyancing professional will mean you will have support and guidance to help you deal with any situations that may occur.
How Much Should I Pay?
There is no one price fits all situation for solicitors and conveyancers. They will charge different rates depending on who you use. Some solicitors and conveyancers will charge you a fixed fee whilst others will charge an hourly rate instead. Alternatively, they make take a percentage of their property profit as their fee.
The best way to ensure you are getting the most effective price is to shop around and compare different rates from both solicitors and conveyancers and look at the breakdown of pricing. The breakdown of pricing should include the services they charge for, such as:
- Bank Transfer
- Land Registry
- Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Transaction Tax
- Any other additional work that might crop up
Are Licensed conveyancers cheaper?
Licensed conveyancers are cheaper than solicitors as they are specialists in the conveyancing process as opposed to solicitors who whilst are very knowledgeable in the conveyancing process but have a broader more in-depth knowledge of the law.
How Long Does The Process Of Conveyancing Take?
The process of conveyancing can vary in time scale depending on the situation. As a good rule of thumb, conveyancing usually takes around 12 weeks to be fully completed but it can be done in as little as 4.
How Do I Find A Solicitor/Conveyancer?
Choosing a good solicitor or conveyancer is an essential part of the conveyancing process. There are many routes that you can take to find a good quality solicitor or conveyancer, for example, you can ask family and friends for anyone that they would recommend or you can ask your lender.
There are also search comparison sites available for finding solicitors and conveyancers and estate agents often have good contacts in this area.
It is always worth checking the company you decide to go with, make sure you read customers’ reviews to get an idea of who you are working with and whether or not they would be a good fit.
Pros And Cons Of Conveyancers Vs Solicitors
As with any decision in the world of property, conveyancer’s vs solicitors have both pros and cons. Both professions bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table.
- Conveyancers have an in-depth knowledge of property that is unmatched. As it is their area of expertise, they have an unrivalled knowledge of how the conveyancing process works and what to expect.
- A conveyancer is cheaper than a solicitor as they specialise purely in conveyancing, as opposed to solicitors who specialise in general law.
- Although they have an in-depth knowledge of the conveyancing process, they are not Solicitors
- Choosing a solicitor to help guide you through the conveyancing process means that you have an expert in not just conveyancing but also general law on your side.
- A solicitor will be able to guide you through the more complex areas of conveyancing and will be equipped to deal with any hiccups. If you go through a conveyancer and run into any problems, this can extra time and money to the sale.
- A solicitor cannot act for both sides of any case without informing you first, or else this is known as a conflict of interest. Using a separate conveyancer/solicitor to the seller or buyer ensures that whoever you work with has your best interests at heart.
- As solicitors have a higher level of qualification, they are more expensive than a conveyancer.
Can I Conveyance Myself?
Whilst it is possible to carry out the conveyancing process yourself it is not recommended. Unless it is a relatively straightforward process and you are confident that you understand the legal jargon and the legal contracts and paperwork then your best option for a smooth transaction is with a conveyancer or solicitor.
Why Does The Quality Of Service Matter In Conveyancing?
choosing the conveyancer or solicitor who is right for you. As mentioned before, the best way to find a good quality solicitor or conveyancer is by checking online reviews.
By checking reviews, you are able to see other people’s experiences with the company. As solicitors and conveyancers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from multi-partnered companies to sole practitioners.
Some companies offer quite rudimentary services using the postal services whilst other more high-end companies use online tracking, meaning you can check your transactions anytime you want. All of these services that solicitors and conveyancers offer go towards the overall quality of the service, and impact your experience with them.
Conveyancers Vs Solicitors
Choosing between a solicitor and a specialised conveyancer is a decision that falls directly into the hands of the seller or buyer. Both conveyancers and solicitors have their own strengths and weaknesses and what it really boils down to is whether the extra cost of a solicitor is worth the protection in the case of any hiccups.
Regardless of whether you decide a solicitor or a conveyancer is the way forward, there are things to watch out for in both camps.
The biggest problem that can be found when it comes to conveyancers and solicitors is hidden fees. Companies that advertise cheap rates can sometimes have hidden fees or the cost can quickly add up.
This just about covers everything you need to know about conveyancers vs solicitors. If you have any questions, queries, or insight into the matter, please feel free to get in touch!
Alexandra is a junior content producer who enjoys writing articles and finding out more about the property market.