It can be pretty confusing to decide who will handle the transaction when you are buying or selling a property. You may wonder whether you should pick a conveyancer or solicitor. This will help you find out exactly what the conveyancer or solicitor will do for you. It will also help you figure out whether you should hire a conveyancer or a solicitor to do the work for you.
What do conveyancers and solicitors do?
If you are buying a property they will clarify, draft and lodge all relevant legal documents including the memorandum of transfer and the contract of sale. They will explain all the legal terms and procedures and make everything clear to you. Furthermore, they research the title of the property and see if there any issues or complications which the buyer should know about. They will also transfer the money and put them into the trust account. They will also calculate all the rates and taxes you will have to pay. They will also communicate with your bank and make sure all the payments are being done properly. They will also act on your behalf while contacting the other part and will represent your interests when dealing with the agent.
If you are selling a property, they will complete all the legal documents and explain them to you. They will represent you when dealing with the buyer and will ensure that the property gets sold as soon as possible with the least complications.
Conveyancer or solicitor?
Deciding whether or not to go with a conveyancer or a solicitor can be a tough decision. They can both do the job, and there advantages and disadvantages of using either. There are certain factors you have to examine when deciding who to use:
- Costs: Most solicitors and conveyancers will do fixed fee conveyancing. But you need to make sure you know what you are getting. What happens for instance, if the sale goes wrong? Will you have to pay even though the deal falls through. Also, as a rule solicitors charge more than conveyancers.
- Legislation: Property laws constantly change. For this reason you will want to consider going with a solicitor who will have a better understanding of property laws. Go for someone who understand and keeps up with the latest laws.
- Supervision: Ask who will be doing the work. Solicitors often have a team of secretaries and paralegals working for them. You should find out who will be overseeing their work. Conveyancers may work alone, or as a team with others.
- Specialist advice: There is frequently a lot of variation across property sales. Ask the professional if they can help you with the particular needs or queries you have about the transaction. Do you need advice on dealing with the agent? Do you need advice on capital gains tax? Pick someone who can answer all your questions and give you proper advice about all the laws and any financial implications they may have.
- Complexity: You should consider how complex the transaction will be. The more complex the transaction, the more important it will be to ensure any issues, uncertainties or problems that arise can be dealt with properly. Conveyancers are best when handling a simple transactions. However, solicitors have greater knowledge and a background in law so they are better to handle cases with any complications. If a case becomes too difficult for a conveyancer, they will call in a solicitor to handle it.
Do I need a conveyancer and a solicitor to buy a house?
Once instructed the first thing a conveyancer or solicitor does is to execute critical searches with instiutions like local authorities and utility companies to establish whether there are building plans scheduled next door – for example an enormous factory.
The searches will reveal other details, for example if the area is under risk of flood, if the previous owners have left the property burdened with financial liabilities, and if there are sewers running too close to the property.
They will advise you about any additional disbursements such as stamp duty. Then they will review the contracts prepared by the seller’s conveyancer or solicitor which will particularise fundamental details like the boundaries of the property and the sale price. Then they will communicate with your mortgage lender to ensure they have all the necessary data they need to proceed.
Once this process has finished, your conveyancer or solicitor will pay any related fees for you using money you have transferred to their business account. Then they will register you at the Land Registry as official owners of the property.
Furthermore, whether you choose a conveyancer or a solicitor also depends on the nature of the transaction. When buying a property it is better to use a solicitor. When selling a property you can just hire a conveyancer. Whoever you do hire, it is important to hire them at the start of the transaction so they will have the all the relevant information at hand.