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Find the right solicitor or conveyancer

You’ll need to choose a solicitor or conveyancer as soon as you’ve agreed an offer, as they will oversee the process that transfers the legal ownership of the property you are buying or selling. But how do you find the right solicitor or conveyancer?

finding the right conveyancer

What is the difference between a solicitor and conveyancer?

Both solicitors (who are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority) and Licensed Conveyancers (who are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers) are fully regulated and insured. In terms of handling your property transaction they will operate to almost identical conveyancing practices and procedures. However it’s worth noting the main differences, because you’re likely to see a price difference when you compare conveyancing quotes.

  • Licensed conveyancers are specialist property lawyers, focusing largely on residential property, progressing transactions like yours everyday
  • A solicitor is a qualified lawyer, with extensive training in many aspects of law, and can offer full legal services such as divorce proceedings or taking someone to court
  • Engaging a solicitor to undertake conveyancing rather than a conveyancer may therefore cost more

When should I use a solicitor rather than conveyancer?

A fully qualified solicitor may be the best choice if you are dealing with difficult transactions. For example, if there’s a boundary dispute or if the sellers are getting divorced, using a solicitor with knowledge beyond property conveyancing law would be necessary. But in most cases, a conveyancer will be able to handle your transaction from beginning to end.

What are the downsides of using a solicitor?

Solicitors are almost always more expensive than conveyancers.

See our guide on conveyancing fees to give you an idea of what conveyancers and solicitors include in their fees and how much you should expect to pay.

Solicitors may handle many other more complex cases with urgent deadlines which can push your ordinary conveyancing to the bottom of the in-tray. Some solicitors work in small practices and have trouble providing continuity of service if they go on holiday. Solicitors may also insist on seeing you in person to verify who you are which can be less convenient.

Most solicitors are highly specialised, but some are generalists who do the occasional bit of conveyancing. If you do opt for a solicitor ensure they are a property specialist, able to deal with freehold or leasehold purchases.

Getting a mortgage – check conveyancing solicitor is on their panel

If you’re trying to decide between a conveyancer or a solicitor when you’re getting a mortgage, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Mortgage lenders will only deal with certain conveyancers and solicitors – those on their “panel” – who in turn usually pay the lender for the privilege
  • If you do not use a conveyancer or solicitor on their panel you will usually have to pay for the bank’s representation fees. This is usually around £200 but varies from bank to bank
  • Ask your conveyancer or solicitor what panels they are on and set out what lender you are considering for your mortgage

How to find a conveyancer or solicitor?

The best way to find the right conveyancer or solicitor for your purchase, is to make sure you shop around and compare conveyancing quotes.

When narrowing your shortlist, look at the reputation of the conveyancer or solicitor and not just their fees. HomeOwners Alliance makes it easy for you to find conveyancers that our users have had the best experience with, by showing you a rating next to some of the quotes. This is based on feedback from people who have used that particular company, and is designed to help you make an informed decision.

It’s worth noting that if you instruct a solicitor or conveyancer through our find a conveyancer tool, you’ll get a no completion, no legal fee guarantee – which means you won’t have to pay legal fees if you don’t complete (but you will still have to cover third party costs such as disbursements).

Compare Conveyancing Quotes

Compare quotes and find the cheapest, nearest and best rated conveyancers from our panel of 120 quality assured firms

Get conveyancing quotes

Should I go with the estate agent’s recommendation?

Estate agents will often recommend a local solicitor or conveyancer. But it is worth comparing quotes as some estate agents get a hefty commission that can add several hundred pounds to your bill.

More importantly it can work to your detriment that the estate agent knows the ins and outs of your transaction. Read should I use my estate agents solicitor for more information on why it’s a bad idea.

Advice on working with your conveyancing solicitor

It’s wise to be aware of the common pitfalls, so you can keep this in mind when you’re looking for the right conveyancer.

The common frustrations include:

  • The conveyancing process involves a lot of paperwork and it is vital that all aspects are correctly completed. If the solicitor or conveyancer is not diligent and efficient in sending off the right bits of paper at the right time, they can cause considerable delays to the process. To help smooth the process, modern conveyancing practices operate with online case tracking facilities allowing you to access up to date information on your transactions 24 hours a day.
  • Some solicitors and conveyancers can be difficult to get hold of, making it hard to track how your case is going, or to get any questions answered. This can be particularly the case with solicitors who undertake other work outside of conveyancing which may mean they are in Court or in and out of the office which can hinder client communication. Conveyancers are often office based, which can enable better client communication.
  • Check that cheap quotes aren’t missing hidden costs. Do your research and make sure you are aware of what the final bill will be; our guide on conveyancing fees will help. And whatever you do, avoid solicitors/conveyancers who charge an hourly rate, and be wary of any quote that does not fully itemise all charges

You can avoid falling foul of these frustrations by asking the right questions before you instruct, and choosing your conveyancer carefully.

Compare conveyancing quotes from the cheapest, nearest and best rated conveyancers from our panel of 120 quality assured firms


Leave a comment (41)* Required

  1. Paul GoblePaul Goble

    We have been approached by Bettermove who say they match investors in properties to specific flats and in return for a 28 day agreement will find a buyer and provide and pay for a Conveyancer. Their terms and conditions also say that they may wish to register an interest in the property by way of a unilateral notice at HM Land Registry. They offer a price for the flat and keep any excess they sell it for. Should we be wary?

  2. TeknoBilirTeknoBilir

    Backlink indexletme – anti seo servisi – TeknoBilir.com

  3. Jawad ButtJawad Butt

    My family is mentally abusing me and threatening me. They know I have 12% share in my Late fathers House. They don’t want to give it to me.

    Can someone help me find a lawyer ? I don’t have any money. They won’t give me my share.

  4. AJAJ

    Where can I share an assessment / rating for a conveyancer in the way one can for a tradesperson on Check-a-trade.
    I would hate more people to make the mistake we made in whom we chose.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Hello AJ, there are lots of different ways to leave reviews on businesses. You could use Google review for example. Anyone who has used on of our conveyancers will be asked for feedback.

  5. malikamalika

    great info , good thanks .

  6. Attorney GuideAttorney Guide

    Thanks for sharing this post. This post is very perfect and useful information post.

  7. John HarveyJohn Harvey

    I worked on the UK’s first ever consumer investigation conveyancing.

    Satisfaction with the provider was most closely related to how well he or she communicated with the client. The need for this skill has been confirmed since

    Recommendations by friends scored highly and generally better than those from professionals

    The reason seemed to me that friends are people who have empathy and communicate between each other. Providers who pass the communication test with your friend have a good chance of doing so with you

    • AKerrAKerr

      Good point John. For the same reason we can see online reviews from previous customers are increasingly popular too when it comes to choosing a conveyancing firm. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Angela
      HomeOwners Alliance

  8. Jill WilkinsonJill Wilkinson

    We are selling our property and have found our own buyer so dont need an estate agent. We are not buying a property and are renting instead.

    Do I need a conveyancer or solictior?

    • AKerrAKerr

      Yes. While you don’t need an estate agent, it’s best to find someone who can handle the legal side of the transaction for you.
      Angela

  9. Andrew OmoleAndrew Omole

    I have decided to hire a real estate agent who will sell my house salford quickly. Your article helped me on the selection process of agent who will carry the burden.

  10. zohaib saeedzohaib saeed

    Dear Sirs

    I am looking for Conveyancing services in relation to the two bedroom flat for which my offer for £250,000 has recently been accepted.
    Please let me know what your cost would be and how long you would need to complete the process.

    I also need a mortgage adviser to help me get my mortgage in place.
    Please let me have the quote for the above services.

    Let me know if you have any questions or require more information.

    Many thanks
    Zohaib Saeed

  11. William SykesWilliam Sykes

    Hello,

    I am looking to join HomeOwners Alliance for the sale and purchase of our existing house and a new home. However just a quick question now please:

    There is a distance of 160 odd miles between our property we are selling in Hampshire and the one we are buying in Rutland. The cost of living is generally cheaper in Rutland and therefore I am considering choosing a solicitor / conveyancer local to that area. Might this cause any logistical problems if my solicitor is not local to where I am currently living?

    Our estate agent recommended someone in Hampshire, but on reading your advice this recommendation often incurs additional surcharges…

    Thank you for any advice that you can offer

  12. Nicola HitchenNicola Hitchen

    Property deeds information needed. Thanks

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Hi Nicola,

      Do consider joining us a member and one of our property experts would be more than happy to look into your query. Joining is easy and only costs £45 for the year. Sign up easily here.

      Kind regards,

      Sophie
      HomeOwners Alliance Team

  13. MartinMartin

    Remember to always use a solicitor on your lenders panel otherwise certain aspects of conveyancing work will have to be contracted out which could result in extra costs. The Lender panel was created because borrowers were often finding out their solicitor was not approved when they applied for a mortgage – by which point those who are selling as well as buying are likely to have instructed someone and incurred costs.

  14. SarahSarah

    This site is generally good but some important points are not accurate. Your solicitor should be happy to speak to you to explain the whole buying or selling process. Do not deal with a property lawyer be they ‘conveyancer’ or solicitor who you cannot get hold of personally. Buying and selling is stressful enough without not getting simple enquiries answered.
    As some one said, the SRA compels law firms to state referral fees they pay and the firm pays these, not the client or the agent however, if the estate agent ‘recommends’ a solicitor or conveyancer ask if they are on a ‘panel’; some agents pay their negotiators a bonus for getting buyers or sellers to sign up to their panel firms. Webbers in the West Country are one of the worst for this and they also take a big cut from the solicitors fees which mean the solicitor actually gets peanuts for the work whilst carrying all the risk etc.
    Good agents will recommend a solicitor and if they don’t take a referral fee then it’s probable they are recommending because the solicitor is good – the agent doesn’t get paid until the sale completes so they prefer clients to use solicitors that do a good job.
    If any one needs a good highly communicative specialist property solicitor I can recommend!

  15. EbyEby

    Please, I am just about to purchase a brand new lease hold property from a known developer who have bad reviews impacting on the quality of previous homes they developed and their after sale customer service. I am using their broker and it looks like I have to buy from this developer since they seem to be able to sought out my mortgage in my personal circumstance.
    The developer is recommending solicitor for me to use, is it advisable to go with their recommended solicitor or find another one.
    I am most concerned to ensure that the legal aspect of the transaction effectively covers the issues that may arise with the property and allow me to work on and fix these issues and get reimbursement from the seller if their customer services go unresponsive or unhelpful.

    Thanks.

  16. Local Property LawLocal Property Law

    Reading through the comments it seems like the ‘cheap’ package options all but offer the same in the Legal side, cheap legal advice which drags down the end result. As an alternative which is gaining huge positive feedback local property law offer only hand picked ‘local’ solicitors. This allows Local Property Law to expedite the Conveyancing experience with a quick legal turnaround all for a Fixed Fee without the nasty surprises.

  17. Asif NawazAsif Nawaz

    I sold my property in scotland around 15 years ago. My experience was really bad with my Lawyers Robert Thomas and Caplan on victoria road glasgow G42 8yz. I was dealing with Robert . When the property sold and the lawyer got the balance after paying the outstanding mortgage . he added all these ”extra costs” that never added up! you have costs like coal mine report etc which the lawyer takes out the bill. but he added an extra £800 on the bill. when i tried to ask him regarding all these extra costs. he was telling his secretary to tell me he was out of office or he was on holiday. weeks later i had to wait outside his office i seen him and questioned him. then he finally admitted it was ”red herring” and told me he would refund £600 to myself . just be careful when selling property. the lawyers do it all the time!

  18. Serena GlanvilleSerena Glanville

    the comments in this blog about referral fees being hidden are a bit of a nonsense – SRA rules require that any referral fees to be paid by the solicitor to any referrer, be they estate agent or mortgage broker, are detailed in the client care letter to you at the outset and you should note that they are paid by the firm to the referrer not by you and not by the estate agent.
    I also endorse what was posted by Bryan in that as a solicitor, my heart sinks when the memorandum of sale informs me that I have a ‘bucket shop’ conveyancing organisation on the other side of a transaction as they are inflexible and hard to communicate with causing delays and holdups. I have had transactions fall through because of the delay caused by online conveyancing ‘services’ and on more than one occasion, when some legal technicality has arisen the online service didn’t have the expertise to deal with, the party on the other side has then had to go to a proper solicitor causing the transaction to start again. be warned, although this site refers to ‘ordinary conveyancing’, very few properties don’t have something out of the ordinary to be dealt with and in case you’re wondering, new builds are the worse! use a solicitor and stay local as local knowledge goes a long way in property transactions even if it is just a box on an estate.

  19. Paul AnumuduPaul Anumudu

    Hi Barry,

    You said you had a good experience with a Solicitor in Manchester. I am currently I need of a solicitor for a house sale in the Manchester area, please can you tell me who your solicitors were?

  20. RyanRyan

    To Ashley, avoid Shoosmiths. They will do the minimum work they can. They will not make additional enquiries on my behalf. Poor value for money.

  21. AshleyAshley

    Looking for solicitor/conveyancing that is on the panel for Cheshire Mortgage Corporation asap! i’m in the middle of a purchase and need someone quick. Would prefer Local (London) but if it has good reviews for any online companies ill take it.

    Many thanks.

  22. Patrick HartePatrick Harte

    Looking for a competitive solicitor to help with a ‘right to buy’ purchase from the council. Local would be preferred, I’m in Birmingham. Any helpful information really appreciated

  23. SandraSandra

    Hi
    We are trying to locate a solicitor for mr Richard fredrick gee who was a director of companies house
    Norman court leading post Scarborough
    Any information regarding a solicitor would be appreciated

    Thank you sandra

  24. BarryBarry

    I sold my home using a solicitor I found on a website. I was sceptical at first because the prices on the website were very competitive if not some of the cheapest around!

    I chose a quote from a firm of solicitors in Manchester and I have to say I was very impressed with their service. Very helpful on the phone, very efficient with my sale and best of all no hidden extras at the end. The price I was quoted online, was the price I paid.

    Highly recommended.

  25. DamoDamo

    Hello Everybody,

    I was wondering if someone could help me on the terms and conditions for Payment Arrangements I received form the current solicitors. It has mentioned that “We disclaim any liability for client money lost through the default of our bank”.

    Is it common with all the solicitor and they will not take any responsibility for the money they hold in there bank?

    I sounds very odd to me!!

    Please help!

    thank you

  26. Amelia FedorAmelia Fedor

    Bird and Co ,Solicitors , Newark office

    Very efficient and personable people to work with. At all stages of the project they highlighted potential issues and did their best to safeguard my interests.
    I am very pleased to recommend Bird & Co for any conveyancing job in the UK.

  27. Susan mapsonSusan mapson

    I was wondering can anybody recommend a good and relatively cheap conveyancing solicitor. I live in Wigan.

  28. BryanBryan

    there is no such thing as a conveyancing solicitor. All solicitors are solicitors but some do conveyancing , some specialise in conveyancing.

    This article is correct in some respects, but factory online conveyancers based in warehouses do not generally give a better service than high street solicitors and you will also find local solicitors are likely to be cheaper-£100s in a lot of cases. As a solicitor who has been doing conveyancing for many years I can attest to that. Nothing is worse than having to deal with a faceless organisation on the other side of a conveyancing transaction-it means frustration and delays, but when I’m dealing with another local firm, I know I can pick up the phone and discuss the case on first name terms with someone I know and will be competent.

    Also, you will find local solicitors generally will have knowledge of the locality they work in.

    All of this adds up to make it more efficient and cost effective to instruct a good local conveyancer or solicitor rather than a faceless call centre type operation

  29. Correy SmithCorrey Smith

    Just what would be the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer? I remember hearing about a conveyancing solicitor from someone in my construction project. It was quite new for me to hear about them since my co workers and I are used to saying solicitor.

  30. JackonJackon

    I’m scared to just settle with my local firm but really cant bring myself to spend the time contacting a bunch of bigger firms. Surely there is someone out there that will be on the ball and mess up. Just a matter of finding them. I’ve had a look online like some others have, but I dont know if it will be mostly automated or not. I also came across some comparison style websites that were free to use and I am considering as a start. ‘Compare the law’ seemed the better one. Glad i found this article though, some good insider things I dont think would have been brought to my attention otherwise. Thanks!

  31. Chris curranChris curran

    I have just had a puzzling experience whilst taking the first steps towards selling a house to our daughter and her family. We are gifting them 20% of the equity as a deposit to allow them to get on to the property ladder asap.
    Having done a search, I contacted a conveyancing company that proudly displays its status as an award winner.

    I spoke to them by phone, was put on hold whilst “something was checked” and then was told that would not act for me as I was selling the house at less than market value.
    Our daughter’s mortgage provider is entirely happy with the arrangement so wherein lies the problem?
    Presumably, if I were to loan my daughter the 20% deposit in cash, then charged the full valuation, the conveyancer would have been happy to have taken my business.

    Odd, very odd.

  32. CherronCherron

    Excellent piece of advice. Thanks HOA!

  33. marymary

    When I was selling my house the estate agent offered to refer to me a solicitor. As I didn’t have one I accepted. When I got the paperwork to sign from the solicitor I noticed in the list of disbursements a ‘Sort Refer Fee’, then underneath ‘VAT on Sort Refer Fee’. Before I signed I contacted the solicitor who informed me that this as a fee they paid, not me. I queried this and asked why it was listed under disbursements the client was to pay if they were paying it. They couldn’t answer that. Then I received a call from someone at Sort Refer to tried to explain how they earned their referral fee. He said to me ‘if you have a car and take it to a garage and tell them you want to sell it and buy a new one, but don’t know which new one you want, they can’t give you a price for your car’. I told him that was a rubbish analogy. He got quite rude with me, telling me I HAD to pay and said he would put the phone down on me if I continued to be rude to him . I said no I wasn’t paying for someone else for doing basically nothing and I hadn’t signed the paperwork anyway, and then I put the phone down on him.
    So basically the lesson to be learnt here is – read the paperwork carefully. You could be paying more than you need to.

  34. sally edwardssally edwards

    works both ways, i used online conveyancers who quoted a low price but then everything slowed down and when i git my bill so many extras had been added on it was double the quote i had from my local solicitor. next time im staying local

  35. NealNeal

    Can you tell us who they are please, so that others can benefit from a good recommendation?

    Thanks

  36. Mukesh BansalMukesh Bansal

    Very Useful information

  37. Dennis ButcherDennis Butcher

    I bought a house 2 years ago through a well established firm of local solicitors. They let me down very badly, resulting in the Legal Ombudsman finding in my favour in 5 areas, for which they had to pay me compensation.

    I am now selling a house and using an on-line firm of conveyancers, apart from a small glitch, everything has gone fine (all done by email/post), so I would use them again and recommend this procedure, even tough they are 250 miles from me ! AND they are cheaper too !

 
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