Conveyancer vs Property Solicitor: Understanding the Difference

There are many reasons you might find yourself in need of legal representation. Moving home, getting a divorce, writing a will or even making an accident claim: these are all services performed by legal service providers around the UK on a daily basis.

What’s the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?

A solicitor is a legal professional with training in different branches of the law and may be qualified to provide a number of legal services in a variety of legal fields. Solicitors are required to practice as members of The Law Society in the UK.

A conveyancer is a specialist in the legal aspects of property sales and purchases. Typically, a conveyancer can be less expensive than a solicitor and many large law firms hire conveyancers to offer property services on their behalf.

Should I choose a solicitor or a conveyancer?

Choosing between a dedicated conveyancer and solicitor for your conveyancing is a matter of personal choice, although it must be said that the majority of people in the UK are happy to instruct conveyancers to handle their property sales and purchases.

As one of the most important (and potentially stressful) decisions in life, it is vital that you are comfortable with your legal representation. Therefore, the decision may simply come down to choosing a legal service provider that you have developed a rapport with and trust.

The role of your solicitor/conveyancer

During the house-buying process, your legal representative is there to explain the processes of buying a property; deal with all of the necessary legalities; and decode any confusing legal jargon along the way.

It is your legal service provider’s responsibility to advise you on contract details, deeds, searches and timeframes. They will be expected to draft up and examine contracts and other legal documents, raising any queries or concerns there may be along the way. As your legal representatives, it will be their responsibility to negotiate with the other party’s solicitor over any sticking points. 

You can learn more about the role your property law expert in our legal guide to the home buying process.

Legal tasks explained

1) Searches

Property searches are carried out to find out more in-depth information about the property that may not be apparent during a viewing or building survey. These searches look for issues such as council planning enforcement or any planning permissions that your new neighbours might have pending. Searches will also cover details regarding mains water and drainage systems, whether the property is a flood risk or any number of other environmental factors that have the potential to affect your homeownership.

2) Legal contracts

Your legal representative will analyse the contract from the seller’s solicitor to check everything is in order. They will look for things such as; arrangement of deposit transfer, proposed dates for contract exchange and purchase completion, and whether all of the agreed fittings and fixtures have been outlined.

3) Completion

This is the day all money is transferred over and you receive the keys to your new house. It is not unusual for things to go wrong on completion day. For example, if the money hasn’t been transferred over by 3 pm, the completion will have to wait until the following working day. Or if you or the other party are in a chain of buyers, and a deal falls through, this can sometimes slow down the process. But your representative will be able to discuss this with you and prepare you for any possible problems that may arise.

It can often be a difficult decision when trying to choose the right legal representative to assist you in buying a house. The Law Superstore makes it easier to find trusted, professional legal services, guiding, matching and connecting you with the right solicitor for your needs. Start comparing now.