Conveyancer vs solicitor: what’s the difference?
Both can help you buy or sell a home, so why do they have different titles?
Last updated on
Jun 1, 2022 10:41
Conveyancers and solicitors do the legal part of transferring a property from an old owner to a new one. There are some small differences, such as their cost or level of training, but for you, they’ll do a very similar job. Here’s what you need to know.
You’ve found a home, made an offer, and got a mortgage. Now it’s time to do the legal business of transferring the property – also known as conveyancing.
Conveyancing is done either by a conveyancer or a solicitor. You may also see them referred to as a “licensed conveyancer” or a “conveyancing solicitor.”
No matter how they brand themselves, they play very similar roles, guiding you through the legal stuff, preparing contracts, and advising on any problems that might crop up.
Between the two, there’s really not much difference at all. Just be aware that many mortgage lenders won’t lend to you if you don’t use a solicitor or conveyancer, and you’ll usually need one if you’re buying with cash, too.
So, conveyancer or solicitor, which should you choose? Let’s find out.
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property from one owner to another.
Your conveyancer (or solicitor) will handle the whole process to make sure everything happens as it should. So, once you’ve found the professional you trust, there’s not much you’ll need to do other than stay in touch with them for updates on progress.
In the meantime, your conveyancer or solicitor will be doing some of the following:
Importantly, both a solicitor and a conveyancer can do all of these things, and lenders are equally happy to work with both. So, it’s not like you can choose the wrong one, but there are some differences worth knowing.
What is a conveyancing solicitor? And what is a licensed conveyancer? Let’s start with the basics:
Let's go through some areas in more detail, to uncover if there are any differences between the two. Spoiler alert: there are hardly any.
Total fees can range from around £1,000 to £2,000, plus VAT, but this is more on the lower end and they’ll differ depending on the value of the property, its location, and whether it’s freehold or leasehold. For some huge or very high value properties, you might be looking at £5,000 plus VAT.
What you’ll pay is usually split between legal fees (how much your conveyancer charges for their work) and the disbursements (the charges from a third party, like the local authority or Land Registry). The disbursements will be the same whether you choose a solicitor or conveyancer, but it’s those legal fees that can vary.
By law, you don’t need to have a solicitor or conveyancer involved in the exchange of property. But if you ‘re buying with a mortgage then you’ll have to have a professional handle the legal work. To be honest, even if you’re buying in cash you should still have a professional acting for you, as the process is complex and there are loads of legal considerations, like anti money laundering regulations, that you’ll need to be on top of.
This minimises the risk for the lender as there’s someone involved who can help them avoid any legal problems with the sale.
Ultimately, that’s up to you. There’s no hard and fast rule about which one is better.
The most important thing is to choose someone you can trust, whether that’s a solicitor or a conveyancer. When you’re making probably the biggest purchase of your life, you need to know you’re getting a high quality service.
Here are some things you can look out for when searching for the right person:
When buying a new house, there’s enough to think about without also having to worry about the legal work. We can reduce the hassle by setting you up with a conveyancer you can trust, as part of our complete home-buying service.
The lowdown on the legal stuff - how it works, what it’s going to cost you, how long it will take, and more.
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