From estate agents and surveyors, through to mortgage lenders and solicitors, there are many professional people you will communicate with when buying or selling a property. Buying a property is probably the most expensive investment you will ever make so it is important to understand the roles each person will play in the sale process. If you enter into the sale process without adequate knowledge this may lead to confusion, potential hold ups and additional costs. It is therefore savvy to invest some time upfront to understand the steps involved along the way.
If you are dealing with estate agents and mortgage lenders you will usually find the roles of these quite self-explanatory. Each should also define the parameters of their services and responsibilities to you upfront. However, confusion often arises when faced with sourcing a relevant body to complete the legalities of the sale – as you have the choice to opt for either the services of a conveyancer or a solicitor.
Conveyancer or conveyancing solicitors are very similar but there are differences between the two.
So, is there a difference and if so, what?
Generally speaking, either a conveyancer or a solicitor can complete a property sale for you.
If you are to opt for a solicitor, ensure they are a conveyancing solicitor (or a property solicitor) as not all solicitors are trained in the area of conveyancing, which is the legal process of transferring a property from one owner to another. However, a licensed conveyancer is trained and qualified solely for, and is a specialist in, the conveyancing process – but is not a solicitor.
It is worth noting however that a conveyancer wouldn’t be able to transact, only offer guidance, on any other legal aspects that may arise during the sale. In this instance, you would need to source the assistance of a solicitor with expertise in the relevant area.
The most obvious benefit of using a conveyancing solicitor is that they are trained in all aspects of legal services, specialising in conveyancing. This means they also have a broad knowledge of other legal processes to draw upon, along with ease of access to an in-depth pool of legal advice from their own professional practices and networks. This can prove invaluable in the sometimes-complex process and related issues that arise during property purchases.
If you find yourself both buying and selling a property simultaneously it can make perfect sense to use the same conveyancing solicitor for both. Although this isn’t a legal requirement, it does help the process of communications to run more smoothly. Utilising one local to yourself will help, for example if living in Essex, a conveyancing solicitors in Essex will understand the area in which the property is situated.
A conveyancing solicitor will deal with and cover every aspect of your property sale or purchase, but the main x3 stages are as follows:
A conveyancing solicitor will be able to study the draft contract in detail and highlight any areas which need investigating further. For example, whether a property is leasehold, or freehold.
There could be many adverse things that are not made public when a property is put on the market.
These can range from the property being built on a flood plain, having restricted planning permissions or sitting in a conservation area. Having these searches completed will put you in a strong negotiating position or at least allow you to consider the issues and maybe not proceed with the sale.
After completion, your conveyancing solicitor will finalise the process by exchanging the deeds, paying any stamp duty due on the property and also ensuring the change of ownership is registered with the land registry.