Do I Need a Solicitor to Sell My House?

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Do I Need a Solicitor to Sell My House?

Hiring a solicitor is expensive, so you might wonder if you really need one when selling your house. However, while you could save up to £2,000 by foregoing a solicitor, it’s worth taking a serious look at the risks.

Is It Legal To Sell My House Without A Solicitor?

Firstly, note that it’s entirely legal to sell your house without a solicitor. It’s uncommon, but there's no law against it unless the property is mortgaged. With mortgage properties, your lenders will likely insist that a solicitor deals with repayment.

What Are My Options If I Sell My Property Without A Solicitor?

If you want to avoid hiring a solicitor, you have two main options. Firstly, you can opt for a licensed conveyancer. Secondly, you can do everything yourself.

Employ A Licensed Conveyancer

Hiring a licensed conveyancer is one obvious alternative to a solicitor. Both options connect you with someone who is part of a regulated profession, and both are equally capable of dealing with a house sale. That said, there are also some significant differences:

  • Unlike solicitors, conveyancers have no legal obligation to tell you about referral fees earned from estate agents.
  • Solicitors can only act on one side of the sale; conveyancers can act on both.
  • Conveyancers are typically less expensive than solicitors.

Deal With All Aspects Of The Sale Yourself

To recap, it’s legal to sell your house without the input of a solicitor or conveyancer. However, unless you’re in serious financial difficulty or have time to take on a substantial project, most experts advise that you enlist the services of a solicitor or conveyancer. But why?

To get a grip on the difference it makes to have a professional dealing with the legalities of a sale, consider the following things a solicitor or conveyancer would do for you as part of the process:

  • Get hold of title deeds and complete all associated paperwork.
  • Sort out any necessary mortgage repayment and agree on the figure for settlement.
  • Draft a sale contract and deliver this to relevant parties.
  • Organise a moving date with the buyer.
  • Complete a final statement after receipt of the house deposit.
  • Process the paperwork for the sale.
  • Distribute the deeds to the buyer.
  • Transfer any remaining balance to you.

Looking at this list, you might start to see just how much work you’ll take on if you choose to go it alone. If you have no experience in the legal world, it’s likely that selling on your own will bring nothing but stress and confusion.

It’s also common to run into problems where you need the help of a professional. For example, if you’re selling a property under mortgage, you might simply not be allowed to conduct all aspects of the sale. Rather, the mortgager may require that a qualified member of the legal profession conducts your parts of the sale. Banks may even require that you use someone on their approved list of solicitors.

Plus, even if you’re not selling a mortgaged property, there’s the lack of insurance to contend with. As you’re not a solicitor or conveyancer, any errors you make could land you in expensive legal proceedings.

Selling Your Home Without A Solicitor: Is It Worth The Risk?

In sum, while it’s legal to sell your home without a solicitor, doing so involves significant levels of responsibility and risk. It’s quite possible that you’ll end up paying more in legal fees than you would if you’d hired a professional to assist you. All in all, then, it’s wise to enlist a solicitor or conveyancer to handle all the legal intricacies of your sale.

Date: 02/05/20

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