Property transactions are expensive, and it can be tempting to try and make every penny count. One way people opt to do this is via ‘DIY conveyancing’.
DIY conveyancing isn’t always the right route, however. Below, we look at some of the things you'll have to contend with if you decide to do your own conveyancing as a buyer or a seller.
Technically, the answer is no you don't need a conveyancer to buy or sell a house. But, there are several cases where DIY is difficult or not allowed.
Yes you can do your own conveyancing. Though it is possible to do the conveyancing yourself, you will have to weigh up the differences between having a professional manage the activity for you. Here are some of the downsides you might find with DIY conveyancing.
The main reason people attempt DIY conveyancing is because they believe it will save them money.
However, you will still need to pay for searches, surveys, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) (or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), if you live in Scotland), HM Land Registry fees and, potentially, for the mortgage lender’s solicitor.
So, after all these costs have been covered, you end up saving very little — despite the level of work involved.
The cash savings are relatively small, and you may end up having to pay for a solicitor anyway if you are using a mortgage lender. However you can expect to save around £300 in conveyancing fees by doing it yourself, so it's a reasonably small cost in the big picture.
Licensed conveyancers and solicitors are required to have professional negligence insurance in place. The insurance covers the cost of legal action in the unlikely instance that anything goes wrong.
If you act as your own conveyancer, you will not be covered, and you could face the cost of legal battles or be sued for errors.
Suppose you decide to do your own conveyancing. In that case, it'll be necessary to get to grips with the basics of property law reasonably quickly — something that a qualified conveyancer has studied and worked on for years.
You'll have to commit a lot of time to research and learning the law surrounding property transactions, then more time to do the actual conveyancing work for your sale or purchase. Even the most basic sales (chain-free, mortgage-free, house sales) will require around 30 hours of work.
If you are managing a simple sale/purchase, are a cash buyer with no chain, who feels comfortable deciphering legalese — and you have plenty of time to spare — then DIY conveyancing could be an option for you.
Here are the initial steps you'll need to take if you want to undertake your own conveyancing:
This is a very top-level list of actions you'll need to take while doing DIY conveyancing, so do your research and make sure you have the time to commit to the project entirely, or you could run into issues.
Some of the things a conveyancing solicitor will deal with when you're selling include:
Some of the things a licensed conveyancer will deal with when you're buying include:
Yes you can sell your house without a solictor. You don't legally need a solicitor to sell a home — unless you live in Scotland. However, they are qualified and experienced in conveyancing work and as we've covered, doing this yourself could be potentially tricky, time-consuming and financially unrewarding.
You can do property searches yourself, in fact, anyone can order property searches when buying or selling a house. However, if there were issues, a qualified solicitor/conveyancer would have insurance to cover legal fees or compensation, which you would not have.
A qualified solicitor has the knowledge to complete conveyancing. You can also get conveyancers who are experienced in this specific area. When buying or selling a house, you will have a professional appointed by an estate agent to carry out the conveyancing.
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