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  1. Guides
  2. DIY Conveyancing - Can you do your own conveyancing?
Conveyancing
Conveyancing
Last Updated 22 October 2021

DIY Conveyancing - Can you do your own conveyancing?

GetAgent Team
  1. Conveyancing Process: Timeline and Steps
  2. 4
  3. 5
    How does conveyancing work?
  4. 6
Table of contents
  1. 1. Do I need a conveyancer to sell a house?
  2. 2. Can I do my own conveyancing?
  3. 3. When can you do your own conveyancing?
  4. 4. How to do your own conveyancing
  5. 5. What does a conveyancer usually do for a seller?
  6. 6. What does a conveyancer usually do for a buyer?
  7. 7. FAQs

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.

Do I need a conveyancer to sell a house?

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.

  1. If you buy or sell a house with a mortgage, the lender will appoint their own solicitor or conveyancer to represent them in the transaction. You'll still have to pay their fees but won't gain any of the protection that comes with hiring someone.
  2. If you are buying or selling a leasehold property, the additional legal issues that can arise with a leasehold contract become much more challenging to navigate for someone who is not legally qualified.
  3. Property transactions involving any government 'Help to Buy' schemes, or shared ownership cases, are much more complicated than 'normal' sales because they involve an additional contract with the government and a slightly different financial arrangement.
  4. If you are buying or selling as part of a chain, handling all the different parties involved requires a lot of skill and is incredibly time-consuming.

Can I do my own conveyancing?

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.

Cons of DIY conveyancing

The amount of money you save is minimal

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.

How much could I save by doing the conveyancing myself?

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.

The learning curve is steep

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.

Requires a large time commitment

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.

When can you do your own conveyancing?

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.

How to do your own conveyancing

Here are the initial steps you'll need to take if you want to undertake your own conveyancing:

  1. Research the searches you should request. Look at other search results to make sure you can interpret the information and know where to direct any issues that arise. Request searches and follow up on the results.
  2. Lookup any legal jargon you come across so you can confidently carry on.
  3. If you are buying a property, ensure the seller's agent has your details, and that they pass them onto the other conveyancing solicitor.
  4. Draft contracts from your end or negotiate on existing contracts.
  5. Examine drafts of the contracts from the opposite side, highlight any complications or issues regarding the legal title of the property.
  6. Arrange the exchanges and completion date.
  7. Understand and make all the financial transfers necessary, including SDLT or LBTT.
  8. Do the legal paperwork for transferring the title with the Land Registry.

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.

What does a conveyancer usually do for a seller?

Some of the things a conveyancing solicitor will deal with when you're selling include:

  • Checking the identity and financial situation of the buyer
  • Arranging searches with the relevant council or local authority
  • Assessing any potential legal issues that come up in surveys and searches — such as structural issues or planning permission — and advising on the best course of action
  • Assessing any issues that come up in leasehold agreements
  • Negotiating and writing the draft sale contract before exchanging it
  • Handling the transfer of money between all the relevant parties, including estate agency fees or any outstanding mortgage amount
  • Arranging the transfer deeds and taking your details off the Land Registry Title for your property.

What does a conveyancer usually do for a buyer?

Some of the things a licensed conveyancer will deal with when you're buying include:

  • Checking both your and the seller's identity
  • Providing advice on which searches you'll need and ordering them from the relevant authority (usually your Council or Local Authority)
  • Financial checks with the mortgage lender and verifying your funds
  • Reviewing the legal pack and other relevant documents from the seller's solicitor
  • Reporting any concerns in the surveys, such as structural issues or a boundary dispute that could impact the mortgage or your choice to buy
  • Checking the seller's contract — the Law Society's Standard Conditions of Sale will be included but not in full. If you choose to do your own conveyancing, make sure you have a good grasp on these conditions well before you agree to the seller's contract
  • Arranging the formal exchange of contracts
  • Agreeing a completion date
  • Preparing and sending the transfer deed and completion statement to the seller's conveyancer
  • Arranging financial transfers from you or your mortgage lender to the seller's solicitor.
  • Paying stamp duty on your behalf
  • Registering you as a new owner with the Land Registry.

FAQs

Can you sell a house without a solicitor?

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.

Can you do property searches yourself?

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.

Who normally does conveyancing?

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.

Next
How does conveyancing work?
More conveyancing guides
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