Do I Need a Solicitor To Sell My House?

17th September 2019

Selling your house can be a long and frustrating process – not to mention the fact that it’s expensive too. So it’s completely understandable that when it comes time to hiring a solicitor or conveyancer to help with the legal side of things, a lot of people wonder whether it’s really necessary. After all, hiring legal help can easily add between £500-£1,500 to your costs. But there’s a lot to take into account when selling a house, and having the right help can save you a huge amount of time and energy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what a solicitor does to help sell your house, and whether you really need that help.

What Does A Solicitor/Licensed Conveyancer Do?

First things first: you don’t legally need a solicitor to sell your house. It’s entirely possible to take on what some call ‘DIY conveyancing’: in other words, taking on the legal responsibilities yourself when selling your home. But, the legal responsibilities are many. Here are some of the things a solicitor or conveyancer will undertake on your behalf as part of a house sale:

  • Preparation and distribution of legal contracts.
  • Request a mortgage resettlement figure.
  • Obtain title deeds.
  • Support in completing all the necessary legal questionnaires.
  • Act as a recipient of the deposit.
  • Meet and negotiate with the legal representatives of your buyer.
  • Negotiate moving dates with your buyer.
  • Approve deed of transfer.
  • Organise final accounts and settlement.
  • Hand over deeds.

As you can see, the list is quite exhaustive. If you choose to take on the legal sale of your house yourself, then you’ll be responsible for all of these tasks. Also, depending on the type of home that you’re selling, extra complexities can come into play. For instance, if you’re selling a leasehold property then the owner of the freehold might insist that you use legal aid in the sale. Some mortgage providers also insist the same. In other words, sometimes the decision is taken out of your hands so it’s worth investigating this before you come to a decision.

The buyer’s solicitor might insist on negotiating with a legal representative on your behalf. Situations often occur in which an offer is accepted and everything appears to be going smoothly, only for the seller’s lack of legal aid to be a sticking point in the sale. Proper legal support suggests trust and credibility, and that you’re being informed of best practices.


Should I Hire A Solicitor Or Licensed Conveyancer?

All solicitors can legally perform conveyancing, but we always recommend finding a solicitor with experience for this kind of work. Conveyancing solicitors specialise specifically in property law and therefore have the knowledge and experience required. Many law firms will have dedicated conveyancing lawyers, and it’s also particularly useful to consult one if your property sale is associated with other legal issues such as a divorce.

There is an alternative to hiring a solicitor or taking on the responsibilities yourself: hiring a licensed conveyancer. Similarly to solicitors, licensed conveyancers are regulated professionals permitted to carry out the legal work involved in selling a house. However, the difference is that conveyancers aren’t governed by the Law Society, but by an independent body called the CLC (Council for Licensed Conveyancers).

Some of the other differences between a licensed conveyancer and a solicitor are as follows:  A licensed conveyancer can act on behalf of both sides in a sale (both the buyer and seller); As specialists, conveyancers won’t work in multidisciplinary firms like a solicitors. While this means that a conveyancer has more specific and specialised knowledge about conveyancing, they lack the broader knowledge of the law that a solicitor will have. If your sale is linked to other legal issues requiring knowledge of family law, tax planning or anything else, then you might be better suited to use a solicitor for your house sale.


In Conclusion

As you can see, you don’t legally require a solicitor to sell your house. There are alternatives, whether you wish to take on the legal responsibilities yourself or hire licensed conveyancer. In any case, there is a lot of legal work to be undertaken and completed during a house sale. You’ll need to either find a professional to complete this work for you, or take it all on yourself.

If you’re predicting a particularly straightforward sale, you might feel confident in taking on the task of DIY conveyancing. But it’s often recommended that you secure professional assistance. While the costs are high, the time and energy saved can be invaluable.

Are you trying to sell your house? If so, please get in touch with us today. The team here at JonSimon Estate Agents have over 10 years of experience in the property industry, and therefore are best placed to help you sell your home.

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