Conveyancing – choosing a property solicitor
Conveyancing is the legal process behind every house sale and purchase. Although you can manage the legal side of a property transaction yourself, for convenience and peace of mind, most people choose to use a solicitor or specialist conveyancing firm.
Every house purchase and sale is different but in general a conveyancer will manage things like:
• Dealing with the Land Registry
• Stamp duty charges and payments
• Collecting and transferring funds
• Providing legal advice and recommendations
• Drawing up and assessing contracts
• Conducting local searches
Finding a conveyancer
Making sure legal processes are followed properly during a property sale is vital – otherwise the whole thing could fall through. So you need to find a solicitor you are confident will do a good job. You can search for conveyancers on the Council for Licensed Conveyancers website.
Conveyancers will either charge you a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the property. Costs will vary, but you can expect to pay between £500 – £1,500 depending on how complex the transaction is. Get a few different quotes before choosing who to use.
Try not to use a solicitor who is too busy to give your case the attention it needs. If possible tell them your preferred exchange and completion dates and ask if they can meet these.
Also avoid choosing a solicitor who is very junior or lacking in conveyancing experience. All solicitors are qualified to do conveyancing but if possible use a firm that specialises in this area.
It can also help to use a local solicitor – they will have a good knowledge of any laws or issues particular to the area. Although most of the process can be handled via phone or email, being able to drop into an office to handover paperwork or check on things can speed things up.
If you are dealing with an estate agent they will often recommend a conveyancer to you, but you don’t have to use them. You should shop around yourself to see if you can get a better deal on price or service.
Getting the right mortgage
Getting a mortgage agreement in principle before you begin the conveyancing process is a good idea. Having a lender who has already agreed to lend you a certain amount will avoid hold-ups later on in the process.
One of our advisers can help you to get a mortgage agreement in principle. You can see some of the best mortgage deals on the market in our mortgage rates tables.
Impartial mortgage advice
Whatever kind of mortgage you’re looking for, one of our advisers would be happy to talk you through the options available to you.
You can speak to a Which? mortgage adviser by calling us on 0117 981 7787 – or request a call back. Our advisers look at every mortgage from every available lender, and because they’re paid a salary – not a sales commission – you can have confidence that you’ll receive truly impartial advice.