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Do I Need a Solicitor to Sell my House?

While hiring a solicitor could make the process of selling a house easier, you need to also be aware of the costs hiring one involves. In fact, you could expect to pay up to £2,000 for their services. If you would rather save that money, there are other ways in which you can go around it without having to hire a solicitor. Here are the pros and cons of going it alone:

Hire a licensed conveyancer instead

If you live in either England or Wales, and don’t want to hire a solicitor, you could use a licensed conveyancer instead. The difference between the two is that solicitors are governed by the Law Society while conveyancers are regulated by CLC (Council for Licensed Conveyancers). However, both are regulated and can help you with the legal work whether you are selling or buying a property.

Other differences between solicitors and conveyancers are:

  • While a solicitor is required to disclose referral fees from estate agents, a licensed conveyancer does not have to do that.
  • It is well known that solicitors work in multi-discipline firms, giving them access to more knowledge in different areas of the law.  A licensed conveyancer won’t benefit from that, therefore neither will you.
  • When it comes to money, hiring a solicitor will cost you more than hiring a licensed conveyancer. However, you need to keep in mind that the price differences are not very drastic. 
Image credit: Charlie’s/Shutterstock

Do It Yourself (DIY) Conveyancing

A second option if you don’t or can’t spend money on a solicitor or licensed conveyancer is to take matter in your own hands. If you’re considering selling your property privately, you will need to know what these professional bodies do, so that you can fulfil the role for yourself:

  • They obtain your title deeds and help you fill in necessary questionnaires
  • They write up and send out the sale contact.
  • They ask for a mortgage settlement figure.
  • They act on your behalf while liaising with other parties in order to negotiate the moving date.
  • They receive the house deposit for you.
  • They approve the deed of transfer on your behalf.
  • They make the final mortgage payments.
  • They give the property deeds to other parties.
  •  They send you any outstanding balance.

If you decide you want to do it yourself then these are the tasks you will be responsible for.

One of the instances where you might encounter an issue with DIY conveyancing is if you are selling a leasehold property, in which case the owner of the freehold might want you to use a specialist such as a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer. Even if that’s not the case and they are ok with you doing it yourself, there are more complexities that come with selling a leasehold property than a freehold property, so it is advised to seek professional help.

Another problem when it comes to doing it yourself is that some mortgage providers will only work with you if you are using a specialist, so that their interests are protected. You will need to be flexible in that case as some banks might want you to work with one of their own solicitors.

The buyer’s solicitor might also not want to accept an undertaking from you if you have an outstanding mortgage.

If you are looking to sell your house fast and are predicting a straightforward sale, then doing the conveyancing yourself is definitely doable and will save you lots of money.

If, however, you still think you would benefit from the help of a specialist, a licensed conveyancer is definitely someone you could consider hiring as they will do the same job a solicitor would, only for a lower sum of money. Either way, the approach you should take when selling your house depends on your circumstances.

Feature image credit: BCFC/Shutterstock

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