What is a conveyancer?

| 10 min read

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

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

What does a conveyancer do?

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

The conveyancer sorts 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.

Should you go with the estate agents's recommended conveyancer?

Your estate agent may also refer a conveyancer to you. However, you should know that almost always conveyancers pay referral fees to the agents for introduction of a new client.

Given that the estate agent gets a financial benefit if you choose their conveyancer, you should consider all of your options and visit multiple conveyancer and compare their fees and reviews.

What are the different types of conveyancer?

The conveyancing process is largely complicated and legal process, which is why almost always people who are buying or selling a property use a conveyancer to handle the process.You can hire either a conveyancer solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. 

Conversely, you can do your own conveyancing. It would be best to take this last route if you have extensive experience in these quarters and are well aware of property law in the UK.

In either case, when you first apporach a conveyancer, ask them for a quote on conveyancing fees. Sometimes, you will find hidden charges written in fine print.

What is a conveyancing solicitor?

A conveyancing solicitor is an individual who is a fully qualified solicitor (as a member of the Law Society) and who specialises in conveyancing. A Property solicitor will 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 or on which you need to seek advice at the same time, for example, estate planning or probate, or if you are involved in divorce proceedings.

What is a licensed conveyancer?

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, when there was a monoply of solicitors in conveyancing services, in order to be able to meet the demand for conveyancing services.

However, a licensed conveyancer will not be a qualified lawyer to assist you in other aspects of law, unlike solicitors.

Hence the difference between a solicitor and a licensed conveyancer, is the breath of legal services each can provide.

You also find licensed conveyancers who work on a "no sale no fee" basis. To find out what it exactly mean, before being lured into by the way it sounds, read our article on no sale no fee conveyancing.

DIY conveyancing

It is possible to do your own conveyancing. Nothing legally prohibits buyers and sellers from acting as their own conveyancer. So you can choose to save on solicitors fees.

What does a conveyancing solicitior do?

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

Selling

If you are selling property, as soon as an offer has been accepted, your buyer's conveyancer will request the property's title deeds from your solicitor.

You may have these already or keep them with a solicitor if your property is owned outright. The deeds may be kept by the mortgage 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 from the seller's solicitor 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 searches at the Land Registry and checking for coal mining or salt, depending on the area where the property is located, and flood risk to the area.

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 how you leave property in your Will), a conveyancing solicitor may be a more suitable choice.

Further, consider choosing a "no sale no fee" conveyancing firm. This will give the conveyancing solicitor an incentive to ensure that the sale or purchase happens quickly and save you the legal fees if the sale falls through.

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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