You’ve received an offer for your house and you’re now wondering whether you need to instruct a Solicitor
The simple answer? You do not need a Solicitor to sell your house and you could choose to do it yourself (some refer to this as “DIY conveyancing”). At a time when costs are increasing, it’s understandable you might be looking to do it yourself to save on costs.
The first thing you should be aware of, however, is that many law firms decline to act where parties are unrepresented. In addition, many mortgage lenders will insist that the seller of a property are legally represented and if the property is leasehold, some freeholders may also insist that you appoint legal representation.
There are many aspects to conveyancing and if you choose to do it yourself, you should consider the many responsibilities (legal and otherwise) to doing it yourself.
So what is the alternative?
Rather than instructing a Solicitor, you could choose to instruct a Licensed Conveyancer.
A Licensed Conveyancer is a qualified property professional specialising in the legal aspects of conveyancing regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Licensed Conveyancers can also work in firms that are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
What Does a Solicitor/Licensed Conveyancer actually do?
The Solicitor’s /Licensed Conveyancer’s role is summarised as follows:
- Obtaining the legal title to the property from the Land Registry and drafting the Contract
- If the property is leasehold, obtaining the additional documentation required such as Leasehold Information packs.
- Obtaining redemption figures for any mortgages that may be registered against the property
- Deal with the enquiries raised by the Buyer’s Solicitors
- Approving the Transfer Deed which is usually drafted by the Buyer’s Solicitors
- Preparing completion statements to include your mortgage redemption and any other additional costs such as indemnity insurance policies and in the case of leasehold property, dealing with service charge and /or ground rent apportionments
- Liaising with all parties in relation to completion dates
- On completion, deal with the sale proceeds, redeem the mortgage(s), pay the estate agent’s fees and transferring the sale proceeds to you
However, be aware that the above is not exhaustive and that complications can arise in any conveyancing matter. Such an instance is where there might be a restriction registered against the property’s Register of Title. There are many reasons why a restriction might be registered and these usually prevent a transfer from being registered at the Land Registry unless evidence is provided to the Land Registry to show compliance with the restriction. Solicitors acting for Buyers are likely to refuse to exchange Contracts and complete the matter unless they are satisfied that the restriction on the Register can be dealt with. This is, however, only a very limited example of the complications that can arise.
As you can see, technically may need a Solicitor or a Licensed Conveyancer to sell a house, if your lender consents to that (which is unlikely). There is a lot of legal work required and you run the risk of a buyer being unable to proceed because you are unrepresented. You might even find that the whole process becomes too complicated and you end up appointing legal representation half way through the transaction which may cause a delay whilst your chosen legal adviser gets up to speed.
It is, therefore, highly recommended that you appoint a Solicitor or a Licensed Conveyancer at the outset to ensure that your sale progresses as smoothly as possible.