Using solicitors for buying a house.
If you are going to need a mortgage, using solicitors for buying a house is usually required. For everyone else, it’s simply a good idea.
Because conveyancing solicitors – as they are normally known – take care of all the legal aspects, property searches, and key financial functions required to buy a home.
Yet this kind of legal specialist doesn’t always have a great reputation. Here is what you need to know about using solicitors when you are purchasing a property:
What Solicitors Do You Need When Buying A House?
The type of specialist lawyer you need when buying a house are known as conveyancers or conveyancing solicitors.
It is the job of your conveyancing solicitor to represent your interests and negotiate with the seller’s solicitors as well as any freeholder (when you are purchasing a leasehold property) and other parties involved in the house buying process.
Do I Really Need A Solicitor To Buy A House?
Technically speaking, no. You are not legally required to have a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to buy a house. You can do what is known as “DIY” conveyancing.
However, there are only some circumstances where this is possible. There are several key reasons why the vast majority of people end up using conveyancing solicitors:
- Mortgage lenders require you to – most mortgage lenders will only lend to you if you are getting professional legal representation as part of the process to ensure their money is being handled properly.
- It’s easier and simpler – buying a house is an involved and convoluted process at the best of times. You need to liaise with a whole bunch of organisations, including the Land Registry and HMRC. You need to get mandatory searches done – and much more.
- There’s a lot of money at stake – buying a house is a big investment. There are many additional costs attached – and financial and legal penalties for not completing certain required actions.
What Does A Conveyancing Solicitor Do?
One of the reasons that so few people choose not to use a conveyancing solicitor even if they don’t have a mortgage is the sheer number and complexity of tasks required in the home buying process. Among other things, a conveyancing solicitor will:
- Draw up a draft contract – or “terms of engagement” that defines exactly what you are buying.
- Liaise with the seller’s solicitor – to negotiate the contract or price (for example, if issues are found with the property during searches), view documentation, or put forward any questions you have.
- Complete the required property searches – via the Land Registry, your new Local Authority, and various environmental, water, and location-based services.
- Finalise the contract and pay tax – including negotiating the agreed moving date and paying Stamp Duty Land Tax.
- Exchange contracts and deposit – transferring the deposit funds from you and the mortgage funds from your provider to the buyer.
How Much Are Solicitors’ Fees For Buying A House?
The average cost of a solicitor when buying a house varies depending on the part of the country you are in, the value of the property, and whether it is a leasehold or freehold.
A ballpark figure would be between £1000 and £1800. The lower end represents the likely solicitors’ fees for a freehold property valued under £200 000. The higher end represents a leasehold property costing more than £600 000.
Do bear in mind that not all solicitors charge the same way for their conveyancing services. Some have fixed packages. Some may charge extra for certain services or additions.
There are also many additional costs of the conveyancing process (such as your mortgage lender’s valuation fee, Stamp Duty Land Tax, and many others) that are a largely unavoidable part of buying a property in the UK.
In general, it is always a good plan to get a quote and check the quality of a law firm – or find another way of ensuring good service delivery and value, such as the easy matching system provided by Solicitors Near Me – before you commit yourself to using any.
Use Solicitors Near Me For Buying A House
Solicitors Near Me makes it easy to find the kind of legal expert you need when buying a house. We pair you with the most suitable solicitors in your area – for FREE and with no obligation to use them.