What Is A Conveyancing Solicitor?

Property| 06.05.2022

For most people, buying a property is the most significant financial investment they will make in their lifetime. Therefore, quality conveyancing advice is essential.

There is a common misconception that a Conveyancing Solicitor simply fills out the necessary forms relating to the buying and selling of residential property. This, however, is far from the truth. Missing crucial details on the title or failing to run a necessary search can result in you having to pay thousands of pounds to correct a situation that, had you been made aware of it, may have resulted in you purchasing another, less troublesome property.

When you understand what a Conveyancing Solicitor does, it becomes clear why it is important to choose one who is both qualified, experienced and holds a Law Society of England and Wales Conveyancing Accreditation.

What is a Conveyancing Solicitor?

A Conveyancing Solicitor is a solicitor who specialises in property law, specifically the buying and selling of residential homes. They also advise and represent clients on transfers of equity, remortgages, buy to let properties, and lease extensions and enfranchisement.

What does a Conveyancing Solicitor do in relation to buying and selling a home?

There are several duties and responsibilities a Conveyancing Solicitor must action when they are instructed by a buyer or seller of a residential property. When it comes to protecting the best interests of the purchaser, the first thing a Conveyancing Solicitor will do is examine the title of the property you are planning to purchase and advise you on matters such as:

  • The boundaries of the property.
  • Any restrictive covenants that run with the property, for example, a covenant preventing you from painting the house a certain colour or running a business from home.
  • The existence of any rights of way or easements running across the property.
  • Any title defects.

Older and/or rural properties can include covenants and easements dating back hundreds of years or have unclear boundaries that could result in a dispute. Instructing a Conveyancing Solicitor who is experienced in investigating titles relating to older properties will mitigate the risk of the enjoyment of your property being compromised.

A Conveyancing Solicitor will also ensure the necessary searches are run on the property to protect your best interests. As a minimum, you should invest in the following:

  • Drainage and water search.
  • Local authority search.
  • Environment Search.
  • Flood risk search.

Additional searches such as a chancel repair search or mining search may be required depending on the location of the property you plan to purchase.

In addition to completing due diligence, a Conveyancing Solicitor will get any questions you have about the property answered by the seller. Once all your queries are satisfied, the seller’s solicitor will draw up a draft sale and purchase contract and your conveyancing solicitor will check all the details are correct.

Once contracts are exchanged both you and the seller are legally bound to complete the sale. If you withdraw from the sale after the exchange of contracts you will need to pay compensation to the seller.

Following on from the exchange of contracts, a completion date will be agreed. Your solicitor will ensure that the lender transfers the purchase funds to the seller and any stamp duty land tax is paid.

How much does a Conveyancing Solicitor cost?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requires all regulated law firms to provide pricing information on their website. It is important to ensure the Conveyancer you instruct belongs to a law firm regulated by the SRA as they have a legal duty to include information about all costs associated with the transaction such as the cost of property searches and the hourly rates of residential property department team members. Unregulated conveyancers may initially seem cheaper but they often add extra costs or ‘bolt-ons’ partway through the process. The conveyancer may tell you that the transaction cannot progress unless the extra charges are paid, making it incredibly difficult for you to refuse.

Final words

A Conveyancing Solicitor is an essential element in ensuring your best interests are protected throughout a residential conveyancing purchase. Although it may be tempting to try and save a little money by choosing a cheap conveyancer, investing a little more in a Residential Property Solicitor who is regulated by the SRA and part of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme will provide peace of mind that the purchase of your new home will progress smoothly.

Pearcelegal has a dedicated residential property law team who can advise and represent you on the legal and practical implications of your conveyancing transaction in a friendly and approachable way. To make an appointment, please contact us on 0121 270 2700 or enquire through our contact form.

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