Do need a conveyancer?

If you’re planning to buy or sell a property, then someone will need to do the conveyancing.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing refers to the preparation and completion of all the necessary legal documentation required to transfer a property, or plot of land, from one owner to the next.

What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancer will give their clients legal advice on the buying and selling process, as well as dealing with the associated contracts. They will undertake searches with the local council and liaise with the Land Registry and your mortgage provider. They will also advise you of all the necessary costs, and arrange the transfer of funds when it comes to completing the sale or purchase of your property.

What are searches?

The searches that take place can be very important. The conveyancer or solicitor will check for any sewers running nearby, as well as the flood risk. They will also ensure there are no debts associated with the property from previous occupiers, and check for any local building plans in place that may affect the value and desirability of the property. If planning permission was in place for something that could have a huge impact on the neighbourhood, it’s best to know about it before you proceed.

Who does the conveyancing?

Either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer can perform the necessary legal tasks on your behalf. It is wise to consider a variety of options, as not all conveyancers will be the same. Any qualified solicitor can undertake conveyancing work, but this does not mean they have experience. You may be able to save money by using an online conveyancing service, or you might have to use a conveyancer approved by your mortgage company.

Can I check their credentials?

A conveyancer must belong to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. If your conveyancer is a solicitor, then they should be a member of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). In addition, they must belong to the Law Society of England and Wales or Scotland.

How much will conveyancing cost?

A conveyancer may charge by the hour, or work for a fixed fee. They could also charge according to the value of the property. Make sure they include fees in their quote for services such as the searches, stamp duty, Land Registry and bank transfer charges. They should also state an amount for ‘disbursements’ to cover costs such as postage.

As mentioned above, using an online conveyancing service could save money – but make sure they are accredited by the Law Society – and experienced. You might be able to agree a fixed rate at that start so there are no nasty surprises. Some legal professionals even offer a no-completion no-fee option, which means that if the sale or purchase falls through you will owe nothing. This option may cost more but can give peace of mind.

Could I do my own conveyancing?

You could – legally there is nothing to stop you. It’s not really a good idea though. You could end up buying a property that the vendor hasn’t any legal right to sell. You could miss a vital issue such as a dispute over boundaries, or that fact that there is planning permission to construct a large prison, crematorium or vast housing estate nearby. If the local authority was, for instance, about to build a new school on nearby land, that might sound agreeable. It does, however, have the potential to make a serious impact on your life, due to possible issues with parking, noise or anti-social behaviour, for example.