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Conveyancing - Should you use a conveyancer or a solicitor?

When looking to purchase a new home we strongly advise that you seek assistance from either a conveyance or a solicitor in transferring the legal ownership of the property from the previous owner or seller to yourself. Buying a new home is likely not something you do often so we can't stress enough the importance of professional legal help.

What is a conveyancer?

A Licenced Conveyancer is somebody who is trained in areas of UK law that deal solely with property. By definition they must be members of the Council for Licensed Convayancers. A convaynacer handles your property transaction and offers all of the same legal transactions as a property solicitor.

What is the difference with a property solicitor?

Until 1987 all conveyancing in the UK was done by a solicitor, making conveyancing by solicitor the more established method. A solicitor generally costs more to employ than a conveyance, however a solicitor should have more training than a convayancer and can offer more comprehensive legal services in a courtroom, should any complications arise.

A third option

Online conveyancing is generally cheaper still than using a traditional conveyance. Online conveyancing companies usually consist of a website and a call centre. Many online conveyancing services will also grant you access to your file via the internet 24/7, offering, which is a great asset for you and your seller. The downsides of online conveyancing are that the quality of service and the training of your conveyancers can vary greatly, and online conveyancing business models mean that you may never be able to speak to the same person twice, muddying your point of contact.

When should I use a conveyancer?

If you are confident that your property transaction will be a simple one with no potential obstacles on the horizon, and you trust the seller, a conveyancer should be a perfectly adequate and probably cheaper solution. If you do choose to use an online conveyancer, we advise that you do your research first and prepare to take on more of the responsibility yourself.

When should I use a solicitor?

If ever you feel there could potentially be difficulties with your property transaction a specialist solicitor is worth considering. Difficulties can emerge if part of the purchase involves a lease extension. Potential boundary disputes can create problems that call for a solicitor. It is also advisable to use a solicitor whenever the seller is involved in divorce proceedings. Many larger solicitors have in house conveyancers. If you can find such a practice we believe this is a good option as you will generally receive the value and efficiency of a conveyance, with the support of specialist solicitors should a problem arise.

What about the estate agent's recommendation?

Estate agents will invariably give you a recommendation on which local solicitor or convayancer you should be using, and they often push whoever has offered them the highest commission. If you wanted to test their advice you could quiz them on whether they are getting commission for the recommendation. If not you can treat it as a genuine recommendation. Regardless we believe a bit of informed research could help you get a better service and even save you hundreds on your bill.