Conveyancing is the legal term used in regards to transferring ownership of property when you are buying or selling it. A solicitor or conveyancer handles the contracts, give legal advice, carries out local council searches, deals with the Land Registry and even transfer the funds to pay for your property.
The system of conveyancing is usually designed to ensure that the buyer secures title to the land together with all the rights that run with the land, and is notified of any restrictions in advance of purchase. Many jurisdictions have adopted a system of land registration to facilitate conveyancing and encourage reliance on public records and assure purchasers of land that they are taking a good title.
Finding the right Solicitor or Conveyancer
Conveyancing solicitors will handle all the legal aspects of buying or selling a property for you. A really good one will keep you updated regularly, and can really support you in what is usually a stressful process.
How to choose a solicitor, the fees and what questions to ask?
The first question you’ll be asked when you put in an offer on a property is the name and contact details of your solicitor or licensed conveyancer. Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring ownership of property, whether you are buying or selling.
A solicitor or conveyancer will handle contracts, give legal advice, carry out local council searches, deal with the Land Registry and transfer the funds to pay for your property. It’s an important role, so choose carefully.
Solicitors are usually more expensive than conveyancers and are qualified lawyers, so they can offer a full range of legal services. Licensed conveyancers are specialized in the property but can’t deal with complex legal issues.
How to find a Property Specialist
- Ask friends and family
- Ask your lender, mortgage broker or Independent Financial Adviser (IFA).
- Estate agents might recommend a solicitor as they often work in partnership with property specialists. However, this could end up being an expensive option for you.
- Online conveyancing is an area that is growing. You’ll only deal with them by email or phone but it’s often cheaper. However you won’t fully understand the quality of service, you might not talk to the same person each time you call, and they can’t deal with more complex legal problems.
- Make sure your chosen property specialist is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales/ Law Society of Scotland and a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
- Conveyancers must be members of the Council for Licenced Conveyancers.
- Conveyancers/solicitor’s fees
Your conveyancing solicitor should give be able to give you a full and accurate figure based on what you have told them. Always ask for a full breakdown of costs as sometimes legal fees and the disbursements are bundled together under various charges so you can compare quotes like for like. Some examples of how they might calculate are:
- A fixed fee
- A percentage of the property price
- An hourly rate
- Try to get quotes from three different firms on the cost of their service.
- Make sure the quotes break down all costs, allowing for VAT so that you’re comparing like with like. They should include charges for:
- Bank transfer
- Stamp duty on properties over £125,000
- Land Registry fees
- Additional work if the process is more complex or urgent than expected
- “Disbursements” – other costs including postage and courier services
The service you receive during the property buying process can make a huge difference to how easy or difficult it feels for you.