What is a conveyancer?

In general, a conveyancer is someone who handles the legal aspect of buying a home. Specifically, they are required for the transferring of the title of the property from one person to another. You need to have a solicitor or conveyancer before your mortgage application can be submitted and they need to be approved to work for your mortgage lender.

A mortgage or financial advisor should be able to help guide you through the shared ownership conveyancing process.

Choosing a conveyancer

Choosing a conveyancer may sound pretty daunting, especially to a first-time buyer – but we’re going to break it down to something much less scary.

A solicitor or conveyancer is someone who deals with all the legal bits when you buy your home. A good conveyancer will be able to support you through the buying process, and hopefully help with any concerns you have along the way.

You still need a conveyancer when purchasing a shared ownership home, as you do for new builds and existing properties.

What is the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

The terms conveyancer and solicitor are often used interchangeably – as we will do in this article. They are quite similar but let’s look at some of the differences.

A conveyancer is someone who is specifically licensed to deal with title transfer of properties – but they aren’t a qualified lawyer. So, a conveyancer and solicitor can both do the following:

  • Handle contracts
  • Give some legal advice
  • Carry out searches of councils
  • Transfer funds to pay for the home

In addition to this, solicitors can deal with more complex legal issues and offer a range of services. 

What does a conveyancer do?

As mentioned, a conveyancer will handle all of the complicated legal bits of buying a house so that you don’t have to stress or worry too much about it. They will handle the legal purchase of the property and everything that comes in hand with that.

If you get a good conveyancer, they will also be there to help guide and advise you on various aspects of the house buying process.

Do I need a solicitor to sell a house?

The short answer is, yes. Whether you are buying or selling you need a solicitor or conveyancer. You cannot transfer the title deed to another person without one. Your legal needs may differ when you are selling a property to when you are buying one so you may need a solicitor rather than a conveyancer, but it is your choice.

Choosing a solicitor for buying a house

Now, for the most important bit – actually choosing your solicitor or conveyancer. Here we will discuss both of these as the same because choosing the best for you will come down to similar things.

When you’re choosing your legal assistance you want to do a few of the following:

  • Ask family and friends for recommendations.
  • Ask your mortgage lender or financial advisor – remember, your conveyancer must be approved by your lender.
  • See if your housing association or estate agent have conveyancers they can recommend.
  • Make sure your chosen solicitor or conveyancer has the relevant qualifications and are members of the required societies and councils.
  • Get a full breakdown of their fees.

Questions to ask a solicitor when buying a house

There are a variety of questions you should ask your conveyancer or solicitor when buying a home – to make sure they are right for the job.

When buying a shared ownership home one of the most important things you should ask is whether your chosen conveyancer deals with shared ownership purchases – you will benefit more from someone with experience.

  1. What are your fees and a fee breakdown?
  2. Who/How many people will be working on my case?
  3. How often will we communicate?
  4. Are you a member of the correct bodies?
  5. What happens if the sale falls through/I change my mind?
  6. Are you approved by my mortgage lender?
  7. Do you have any reviews I can read?
  8. When do I need to pay my fees?
  9. If there is a dispute, what do you do?

There may be more questions you have, and feel free to make a list of your own as well as asking friends and family if they know any other questions you should ask.

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