Using solicitors for selling a property – what you need to know
You need legal representation from specialist solicitors when you’re selling a property as much as you do when buying one.
This means that finding a lawyer with extensive experience in this field – a conveyancing solicitor – is important.
But what exactly does a solicitor do when you’re selling a property? Is it possible to save money by doing without one? How much are conveyancing fees for property sales anyway?
Let’s take a look at how selling property works in the UK and when solicitors need to be involved:
How Does Selling A House Work?
Once you have found a buyer for your house, the legal process of selling it begins.
As the seller, you will need to have a contract drafted, create copies of the property’s title, and complete information and fixtures, fittings, and contents forms. You will also need to field any queries the buyer or their solicitor raises about the property in question or the proposed contract.
After the completion date is set and goes ahead, you will then need to receive the funds from the buyer (or, more commonly, their mortgage lender), pay off your own mortgage, and pay any other expenses before handing over the keys.
Do I Need A Solicitor To Sell A Property?
Technically speaking, you do not have to use a solicitor to sell a property. However, it’s rare that someone chooses to go the “DIY” route. This is mainly because mortgage lenders won’t become involved in a transaction unless everyone has professional legal representation.
Equally, your buyer’s solicitors may be unwilling to negotiate with someone who isn’t qualified. If you are trying to sell a leasehold property and you are not the freeholder, it’s also likely that your landlord might insist on everyone having a professional to represent them.
The reasoning is that there is a set legal process that needs to be followed and tasks that need to be completed. If there are hold-ups or mistakes in the process, it ends up costing everyone more and putting multiple people (and a lot of money) at risk.
What Does A Solicitor Do In A Property Sale?
Another reason so few people (of the few who can afford to buy a property without a mortgage) attempt DIY conveyancing is the sheer number and range of legal jobs a solicitor needs to complete in a property sale. These include:
- Draft the contract – this requires acquiring the property’s title from the Land Registry and requesting Leasehold Information packs from your landlord if the property is a leasehold.
- Deal with mortgages – your solicitor needs to get the redemption figures for your mortgage and prepare condition statements based on them along with any other costs (for example, service charges on a leasehold property).
- Liaise and handle enquiries – the buyer’s solicitors and the buyer themselves often have questions about the property or contract. Your solicitor also needs to liaise with multiple parties about completion dates.
- Identify and handle restrictions – some property titles have restrictions that mean the Land Registry won’t transfer a deed. A common example is a person who has received funding from their parents being restricted from selling by the terms of their agreement.
- Complete the transfer – after completion, your solicitor needs to redeem the mortgage, pay any costs or fees, and transfer the sale money to you.
How Much Does A Solicitor Charge To Sell A House?
The amount different solicitors charge to sell a house will depend on the value of the property and where you are in the UK. A very approximate range of figures would be between £700 and £1500 or more with VAT sometimes in addition.
It is important to note that cost is not always an indication of the quality of service you can expect from a given solicitor.
You should always aim to get in touch, get a feel for how a solicitor works, and then request a quote, making sure it is very clear about what you want and what you will get.
When Do You Pay Solicitors’ Fees When Selling A House?
Some small fees may be requested through your solicitor before the sale goes through. These are to pay for things like copies of the title deed.
However, most solicitors’ fees are due after the completion date. Most firms will take the fees they are owed from the proceeds of your property sale before transferring the remainder to you.
It is always worth checking on this though.
It is also worth investigating what happens in the event that your solicitor completes their work but the sale fails to go through for some reason. Some conveyancing solicitors work on a “no completion, no fee” basis. Others do not.
How To Easily Find Solicitors For Selling A Property
Finding friendly, approachable solicitors for selling a property doesn’t have to be hard.
Solicitors Near Me was created by a former solicitor who recognised just how lengthy and annoying the process of finding a lawyer could be.
So let us find just the right conveyancing solicitor for you – for FREE and with no commitment to use them.