You’ve found your dream home and you’re ready to buy, but it’s time to find a solicitor
. Most people turn to recommendations from family or friends, but if you don’t know what you need from a conveyancing solicitor, or what they do, how are you going to find the right person for you?
Licensed conveyancer vs conveyancing solicitor: what’s the difference?
A conveyancing solicitor is a legally trained solicitor who works in property law. A conveyancer is not a solicitor but focuses solely on property sales and purchases. Both are legal professionals and will offer the same service in transferring deeds, handling payments and ensuring that when you buy a property, you become the rightful legal owner.
You can learn more about the difference in our article about the difference between conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers
Things to consider:
When choosing your licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor, it is important to consider a few key factors, to make sure that you’ve chosen a firm who are trustworthy, experienced and efficient.
You can make sure you’re dealing with professionals by ensuring the firm is accredited. For solicitors, this is the Quality Conveyancing Scheme
, run by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority
) and for licensed conveyancers, it’s the CLC (Council for Licensed Conveyancers).
If you’re finding your conveyancing firm through reallymoving you can be confident that we only work with firms who are fully accredited and operate on the majority of the lenders’ panels. You can also have a look at how we check our partners
, as we’re very strict in choosing who we work with.
Reviews are one of the best ways to get a feel for a company. Have a look at the different solicitors and see what people are saying about them. You can have a look at reviews left by reallymoving customers
, but also look for reviews on Google, Trustpilot or social media channels, to get a good idea of peoples experience with them.
One of the main ways people choose their conveyancing firm is by price, which is very fair. Some people are looking for the best deal, some want a price in the middle and others are happy to pay more for a superior service. The most important thing is to be aware of what is included in your bill – will you be expected to pay for any extras, and when will these payments be due? Get an idea of conveyacning costs
before you start to compare.
Most people know they will need to pay for searches, which will be undertaken by your solicitors, but other smaller charges, called disbursements, aren’t always obvious. Be sure to have your chosen firm break down the quote for you, so you know what is and isn’t included. If you are getting your conveyancer through your estate agent, always ask what the estate agent is receiving for their referral. You may be surprised to learn they are paying £100s for your conveyancing business
Everyone wants their house move to be processed as quickly as possible, but that isn’t always possible. If you’re on a deadline, let your conveyancing solicitor know, so they can tell you if it’s realistic. The average time for completion is 8-10 weeks. Some simple purchases can go through within 6 weeks, but often that is not the case. Sometimes this is down to things like searches, or paperwork being backed up by your seller.
Try to ask solicitors about their timescales and express your situation, to get a clear idea of how likely your move date would be with them.
Many conveyancers have portals
which show you exactly what is happening in your transaction. Most will send an automated email or text to you when a milestone has been met, such as you have paid your deposit, your searches have been returned, you are about to exchange etc. Many people find knowing this information is reassuring.
Find out if a conveyancing solicitor uses any of these technologies or how they keep you informed of any changes.
One of the main bugbears from those who were not pleased with their conveyancing firm is communication – during what can seem like an arduous process, people want to be updated regularly. However, from a conveyancer’s perspective, often there isn’t anything to update the client on when they are waiting for paperwork, or the results of searches.
Be clear about the level of communication you expect, and if this is a priority, let the conveyancing solicitor know. Similarly, ask about whether there’s a dedicated point of contact if they go on holiday or are away during key times in your move, in case you'd need to get in touch.
What you dont need to consider.
Even though you may personally prefer it, your conveyancing solicitor does not need to be local to your new property in order to deal with the process. As long as they are capable of representing you in the appropriate part of the UK (Scotland has a different buying process to England and Wales, and both Scotland and Wales have different Stamp Duty laws
) you do not need a local conveyancer.
Updated July 2022