Can I do my own conveyancing?

In England and Wales a person can not carry out the business of conveying property unless they are suitably qualified and have the appropriate professional indemnity insurance to cover them against negligence or malpractice.

That invariability means that you will either instruct a Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer both of whom will hold these qualifications and the appropriate insurance. In most cases it is probable that the one thing that influences a buyer in deciding which Conveyancer they will use is the cost. It is perfectly natural that we should want to know the cost of somebody supplying services to us and the vast majority of Conveyancers will be prepared to give a quotation for their services and to put that in writing (normally by email) and, indeed, if instructed by you to act on your behalf will be obliged to confirm to you, in writing, their costs or how their costs are calculated.

Most Conveyancers will, in relation to the purchase of a domestic purchase, be prepared to give a fixed price quotation and this will include the costs of their services, the VAT and also the costs of the disbursements. Disbursements are the expression given to those payments which a legal representative has to make on your behalf and tend to be fairly standard. They will include the cost of searches required against the property, Land Registry fees and stamp duty land tax.

The item in relation to your legal costs that is most variable is the actual conveyancing fee but you should always have regard to the following:-

  • Cheapness and value for money are not the same thing
  • Get your quotation in writing before your instruct your legal representative
  • Check that the fees that you are quoted include the legal work on behalf of the lender
  • Ask if you will be charged anything upfront.  Most firms will ask you to pay the search fees upfront
  • Ask what your legal representative will charge if the matter becomes abortive

Remember, however, cost is not everything. If you’re are looking for a high level of service it is also a good idea to ask your friends and family if they could recommend somebody that they have used recently and were happy with.

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