What is a conveyancing solicitor?

| 10 min read

An essential role in buying or selling property is that of the conveyancer. Dealing with more than just the paperwork, he or she helps keep everything moving smoothly.

This article will explain the importance of the role and the different types of professional conveyancers.

What does a conveyancing solicitor do?

In a nutshell, a conveyancing solicitor ensures that the legal ownership of a property passes as smoothly as possible from one person to another.

Conveyancing solicitors sort out the intricate details in the process of buying and selling to ensure there is no dispute or confusion over even minor details, for example, a parking space size on a driveway.

The work that they carry out includes property searches, completing or replying to documentation, keeping a client updated on each step of the buying or selling process, exchanging contracts and finalisation, and arranging for stamp duty to be paid if required.

If you are both selling and buying properties, it is generally advised to use the same conveyancer as they will be aware of timelines and will be better prepared to help ease your move.

What are the different types of conveyancer?

Conveyancing solicitors

A conveyancing solicitor is an individual who is fully qualified to practice as a solicitor and who specialises in conveyancing. Conveyancing solicitors typically tend to have experience in other legal areas too.

They might be best to use if there are other legal issues that need considering at the same time, for example, estate planning or probate.

Licensed Conveyancers

Licensed Conveyancers are not solicitors, but qualified in conveyancing only. Their regulatory body, Council for Licensed Conveyancers was created after a rise in home ownership during the '80s in order to be able to meet the demand for conveyancing services.

However, licensed conveyancers are not qualified in other aspects of law, unlike solicitors.

DIY conveyancing

It is possible to do your own conveyancing. Nothing legally prohibits buyers and sellers from acting as their own conveyancer.

Outline of the work a conveyancing solicitor carries out

If an offer is accepted, it’s not legally binding for the buyer or the seller until the exchange of contracts and that, with the help of the conveyancing solicitor, usually takes between 8 to 12 weeks.

Selling

As soon as an offer has been accepted, your conveyancer will request the property's title deeds.

You may have these already or keep them with a solicitor if your property is owned outright. The deeds may be kept by the lender, and your conveyancer will request it directly from them if you have a mortgage.

The Property Information Form is a document that details everything that will be included in the draft contract. The solicitor will ask for your approval and, as mentioned, will correspond with the necessary parties and answer any questions or concerns regarding the property and any items included with the sale.

Buying

If buying, the solicitor first requests copies of the title deeds to the property to ensure that the seller owns the property and can legally sell it.

He or she checks whether there is a mortgage that would need to be settled and ensures that the boundary of the property is as disclosed on the sales details.

He or she then performs searches: a Local Authority search to check things such as whether a road isn't about to go through the land, or that the neighbours are not selling off their land and have put in planning permission for a block of flats; and also a water search. Other searches can include checking for coal mining or salt, depending on the area where the property is located.

Conveyancing solicitors will arrange for contracts to be exchanged, which is when a completion date is usually set. They will finalise matters with all parties signing the contract and arrange for the completion to take place.

They will register the new owners with the Land Registry and once that has been done, they will either forward the title deeds to the mortgage company or or to the new owners or keep them safely.

How to find the conveyancing solicitor for me?

While both conveyancing solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers are more than capable of dealing with the entire buying and selling process, if there are any other legal factors that should be addressed during the transaction (such as writing a Will), a conveyancing solicitor may be a more suitable choice.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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