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conveyancer or solicitor?

conveyancer or solicitor?

Published: 27/02/2020 By WD

Conveyancers and solicitors are vital to keeping the property purchase process on track, as well as a necessary part – but which is the most suitable to meet the needs of consumers?

EXPLAINING THE DIFFERENCE

Both conveyancers and solicitors are fully regulated and insured professionals, and when it comes to handling your property transaction, will operate in a very similar way. However, it is worth noting the differences between the two before you get started.

Conveyancers are specialist property lawyers who are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, and who focus largely on residential property transactions.

Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and offer a much broader legal service and are able to deal with more complex legal issues. Their knowledge beyond property conveyancing law is necessary when dealing with the likes of boundary disputes or if the sellers are separating and using more than one solicitor.

These differences will be crucial in deciding what is best for a customer. Explaining the differences between the two before a consumer starts the house buying or selling process will be beneficial all round. The customers’ family situation and any issues with the property may require the additional legal services a solicitor can bring.

HAVE THEY BEEN RECOMMENDED?

Consumers may have received recommendations from friends, family, or their mortgage broker, which are great starting points, however, you should always be able to make a recommendation if your buyer or seller is struggling to find an appropriate professional. Agents must always disclose any referral fees – as per the guidelines from the National Trading Standards Estate Agency and Lettings Team (NTSELAT)

Other areas to consider:

  • Customer review websites like TrustPilot or Feefo
  • Communications skills – do they get an assigned point of contact, and is that person easy to get hold of and work with?
  • Fees – advise getting quotes and a full breakdown of the total cost. The final price should be inclusive of everything necessary to complete the sale, including searches, monetary transfers, stamp duty or land tax costs and Land Registry fees.
WHAT'S THEIR COMMUNICATION LIKE?

Property transfers are complicated and can often be time-consuming, so a solicitor or conveyancer who communicates well and gives you regular updates will make the whole process less stressful.
Having a key contact is essential, so find out if you will have a named individual looking after you and your sale. Ask if there are specific times when you can contact them and if they have a system that allows you to track how the purchase is progressing.
Also, don’t forget to check if they have any annual leave booked that could impact the transfer and ask who will step in if they're away. If holiday or sickness cover isn’t available, it could delay your house sale or purchase by a couple of weeks.

UNDERSTAND AND COMPARE CONVEYANCING FEES

There are three different types of fees when it comes to conveyancing:
  • Hourly rate
  • Fixed fee
  • Percentage cost
It’s advisable to get a couple of quotes first and ask for a full break down so that you can make a direct comparison. Make sure you check whether the total cost will be a fixed or if it could vary according to the workload. The final price should be inclusive of everything necessary to complete the sale, including searches, monetary transfers, stamp duty or land tax costs and Land Registry fees.