Using a solicitor to sell your home: Is it necessary?
A solicitor can be an expensive option when selling your home, but it’s usually a good idea to get sound legal advice whenever you make a transaction of this magnitude. Since you will likely be spending between £50,000 to £1 million on a property, you need to make sure that the transaction is handled well.
In some instances, you may have the option of carrying out the conveyancing process yourself, although some parties may not agree to this because of the risks involved. Essentially, if something in the transaction is held up due to a mistake on your part, there’s no insurance that would cover you, and some mortgages won’t allow either party to carry out this sort of transaction.
There is a third option, however: you can use a conveyancer!
You can find a licensed conveyancer here.
What’s involved in a property transaction?
No matter what happens, a property transaction involves:
- Title deeds
- Mortgage negotiations (including settling your mortgage)
- Contracts for sale
- Dealing with the other party’s legal representative
- Creating and organising the accounts
- Approving a deed of transfer and handing them over
- Paying off the mortgage
- Transferring and paying out the outstanding balance
Some parts of this process can be a sticking point for a buyer if you don’t have any legal representation. For example, if you have an outstanding mortgage, you need a guarantee that any remaining money due will be settled by the proceeds of the sale – called an undertaking. This is to prevent the possibility of the mortgage not being paid and the charge on the property remaining.
The buyer’s solicitor will not usually accept such an undertaking from anyone other than a conveyancer or a solicitor.
Conveyancing: Ideal for straightforward transactions
Conveyancers differ slightly from solicitors in that they can act for both sides and they don’t have to disclose referral fees. Because they are licensed legal professionals (licensed by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers), they have insurance and they can advise on the transaction as it stands. However, they do not usually have the same breadth of knowledge that a solicitor might have, and they typically cannot advise on more complex transactions that require a thorough understanding of family law or have complex tax implications.
However, mortgage providers typically accept conveyancers as able to create undertakings, and the buyer’s solicitor is usually happy to accept documents created by a conveyancer.
Which is cheaper?
Conveyancers are usually cheaper than solicitors, although the cost difference is usually small. Of course, doing it yourself can be cheaper in the short term, but it could end up being very costly in the long term, especially if an error creeps in. Ultimately, getting legal advice is usually the most sensible solution for all those involved in a property transaction.
It’s always important to remember the legal transaction required when selling your home. Using a conveyancer is a great way to save a few pennies without running the risk of holding up the sale. If you are looking for more great content around selling your house, why not head over to YOPA’s handy homeowners’ hub to read this post about the true costs of selling your home.