Legal advice from Chris Illingworth, conveyancing solicitor based at FDR Law’s office in Frodsham
The need for a conveyancer when buying a house
Q: Me and my partner are about to buy our first house, we have been advised by our estate agent we will need a solicitor. Can we handle the legal side ourselves or is this compulsory?
A: Buying your first house is probably the biggest purchase you will make and it is therefore important you protect your purchase by using a solicitor experienced in conveyancing.
When you place an offer on a property your estate agent will be required to ask for your solicitor’s details to pass onto the seller’s conveyancer. Without a qualified legal representative this process can be lengthy and prone to errors as typically they will take care of all legal aspects including; the local search, land search charges, land registry and stamp duty.
Solicitors are trained professionals; with experience in each of these areas, someone without a legal qualification may find the process difficult. Many of the searches can be hard to attain and each property and location may require different ones. It is also worth noting that conveyancers know what to look out for on search results and how to handle accordingly. Your legal representative will be able to advise you on the expected costs, in addition to the searches there could be Land Registry and stamp duty tax payable if your house is worth over £125,000.
There is no legal requirement stopping you from doing your own conveyancing, however it is a complex process and any errors made can have an impact on the purchase of your house, which could cause future complications.
If you are using a mortgage to finance part of your purchase then your mortgage lender will insist that a solicitor represents them and you would have to pay this fee. Most solicitors acting for a buyer will do this additional work as part of their standard fee.
A solicitor can help you buy your first home by explaining the steps involved and help in resolving any legal issues that may come up. Many will offer step by step guides to help you understand all necessary legal checks and searches as well as being there for you to ask questions and address your queries as they arise.