When buying or selling a property in the UK, you’ll have to work with many different professionals to complete the often long, complicated process of transferring the property’s title to another. That also means that you’ll need a legal professional to help you understand the requirements, gather the right documents, and act on your behalf. You can choose between conveyancing solicitors or a licensed conveyancer, which sound very similar but have important nuances that are important to note.
These two professionals have different educational and professional backgrounds, which means they fulfil different home buying or property selling processes. When searching for conveyancing fees to prepare your budget, you’ll receive quotes from both, and you may accidentally choose one that doesn’t fit your situation. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between the two:
All About Conveyancing Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers
Conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers are both professionals specialising in conveyancing. They have their respective regulatory bodies that oversee their activities, and they are both required to be insured. The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) governs solicitors, whereas the Council for Licensed Conveyancers regulates licensed conveyancers. Both solicitors and conveyancers follow conveyancing practices and procedures that are similar to each other.
Many property solicitors have experience in other law types, like criminal, litigation, and personal injury. Some of them actively practice in these areas, along with the conveyancing they perform. Meanwhile, licensed conveyancers are property specialists, which means they received training only in property law and conveyancing through their professional experience. The CLC defines licensed conveyancers as “a specialist property lawyer qualified in all aspects of property law in England and Wales” that focus mostly on residential conveyancing. Some take on commercial property and probate cases, but they are few in number.
Since conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers carry out very similar roles, it can be challenging to find concrete ways to distinguish them. Whether they’re acting on behalf of buyers, sellers, or lenders, they both provide similar services. However, the training they receive, their disciplines, and even their fees tend to differ, which may affect your experience with them.
The Principal Differences Between Conveyancing Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers
Licensed conveyancers can act on behalf of both sides during a property transaction, which means they represent both the buyer and seller. However, many people perceive this to be controversial since a point of conflict will undoubtedly arise during the transaction, making it difficult and unethical for a professional to represent both interests. For example, a survey on the property found that costly repairs are required to fix it up, which means that the buyer must renegotiate the property price, to which the seller will likely object. In this instance, maintaining impartiality will be a significant problem.
According to the SRA Code of Conduct, conveyancing solicitors must disclose all referral fees, if any, that were paid to a marketing or referral agency. They are required to disclose in full all pricing, including VAT, upfront when meeting a client.
Conveyancing solicitors typically have a three or four-year degree along with two more years of Legal Practice Course. After that, they will have taken a two-year training contract with a solicitors’ practice before they can officially qualify to become a professional. Meanwhile, licensed conveyancers learn all their training on the job. They take their exams while working, which means they get less training than their solicitor counterparts. However, some conveyancing solicitors choose to become licensed conveyancers because they have more commercial freedom to operate.
Many solicitors specialise in different areas of law, which means they often work in established practices. Their diversified expertise and knowledge make them reliable sources of information when you need advice on your transactions that may surpass the confines of conveyancing. For example, you may require help with litigation, family law, tax, and wills when buying or selling a home.
Since solicitors are qualified in law and have undergone multiple years of training, they are usually more expensive than licensed conveyancers. While this is enough to deter people into hiring licensed conveyancers, they often run into issues that require a solicitor’s help, which means they end up hiring anyway.
Buying a Home With a Conveyancing Solicitor
The exchange of property is often a long and complicated task, so it is highly recommended to work with a conveyancing solicitor to make sure the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. Cheap conveyancing quotes are easy to find online, making it even easier to get a professional on board to help you with buying or selling a home.
Like many transactions, you’ll likely encounter many unexpected problems and complicated legal issues that you can’t solve independently. Having a legal professional by your side will make the process easier to deal with since they have the relevant knowledge and experience to deal with all questions and issues involved in transferring the property. They can also write a draft contract for a transaction, and they’ll make sure to include special conditions that will protect you.
If you are selling a property, then the buyer’s solicitor will likely ask many questions about the property. You must exercise caution in your responses since anything you say can be used as evidence in court should things go awry, especially if the buyer plans to raise a litigious matter with the sale. Without any prior legal knowledge, it is tricky to make sure that you’re answering the right way, making it crucial to have a solicitor with you.
Upon completing a property sale, the buyer’s solicitor transfers the funds to your solicitor after they verify that they are funnelling it into an authentic solicitor’s client’s bank account. Without a solicitor, the money will go straight to the seller, which can pose a significant risk in money laundering regulations. Ultimately, conveyancing solicitors protect you from an endless amount of legal risks that can easily make your transaction go south and land you in trouble with the law, even without the intention to stir up conflict.
Solicitors and conveyancers perform largely the same role, although their knowledge, expertise, and years of training and experience ultimately define the level of service they can give you. Regardless of your situation, it’s best to hire a conveyancing professional, especially when you’re involved in a high-value transaction like buying or selling a house.
Conveyancing Calculator provides online residential conveyancing quotes in Manchester using our accurate, reliable conveyancing fees calculator. Whether you want to compare conveyancing fees or you’re looking for conveyancing solicitors or licensed conveyancers, we can connect you to the right ones. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you!