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DIY conveyancing

You might be tempted by DIY conveyancing to save money, but can you do your own conveyancing? We look at when it is possible to do your own conveyancing and the pros and cons to consider.

DIY conveyancing

The conveyancing process is complex, and you shouldn’t consider DIY conveyancing if you don’t fully understand all the steps involved.

However, doing your own conveyancing can certainly save you money.  See our guide on conveyancing fees which sets out what you can expect to pay in terms of legal fees and other disbursements so you can see the costs involved.

Who normally does conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of home ownership from the seller to the buyer. Conveyancing is usually done either by a solicitor, a licensed conveyancer, or a legal executive. If you’re considering instructing a professional, you’ll need to choose between a solicitor or a conveyancer – and the decision will depend on the circumstances of the purchase.  In addition to comparing quotes and reviews, here are some useful questions to ask your conveyancing solicitor before making your decision, including whether or not your conveyancing solicitor offers a no complete, no legal fee guarantee.

Is DIY conveyancing an option?

DIY conveyancing is an option but not usually possible if a mortgage is involved. Doing the conveyancing yourself should only be considered for simple transactions, and only if you are comfortable with legal jargon and willing to deal with a lot of paperwork.

How much could I save?

Conveyancing fees do vary but are typically between £850-£1500, plus the cost of disbursements.  Legal fees for leasehold properties are more.  A cheaper option can be online conveyancing. If you’re worried about the cost, it’s wise to compare conveyancing quotes first and look out for a no complete, no legal fee guarantee.

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So why doesn’t everybody do it themselves?

Most mortgage lenders insist on a professional in order to protect their interests. Lenders generally require that you use a conveyancing solicitor that is registered with their panel.

There is also added risk to doing the legal work yourself. If you go through the process incorrectly, the seller’s solicitor could take advantage of your inexperience, you could be sued, and end up spending far more in legal and court fees than you would have done on a conveyancer.

When should you avoid DIY conveyancing?

Even if your mortgage company allows for DIY conveyancing, and you are happy with the risks, property law can be more complicated in some circumstances and we recommend against DIY conveyancing in these instances:

Compare conveyancing quotes and get a no completion, no legal fee guarantee with our panel of quality assured conveyancers


Leave a comment (36)* Required

  1. LizLiz

    Stuck a DIY conveyancing no-mans-land. My vendor’s solicitor will only receive a deposit and balance transferred through a solicitor (to comply with her firm’s AML policy) but I can’t find a solicitor who will only deal with this part of the process. Any advice?

  2. SteveSteve

    Can anyone point me to a step by step guide for DIY conveyancing for a freehold property I want to transfer to a family member. There is no money or mortgage involved. I want to understand what needs to be done.

  3. RobertRobert

    Very poor advice. I have been buying and selling UK property for 30 years, both freehold and leasehold. Using a solicitor will always cause severe aggravation.

    Avoid anyone who ‘recommends a solicitor’ or says its a legal requirement to use a solicitor. It’s not. The paperwork involved to buy and sell UK property is extremely light. You don’t even need to use the ‘official forms’ – you can hand write it all.

  4. Steve GraySteve Gray

    Hi, I own a freehold property with a 2 bedroom flat above part of our building. This flat has a flying freehold. We wish to buy the flat and turn both properties into one dwelling. How easy a conveyancing job is this. No mortgages involved. Any advice appreciated.

  5. mattmatt

    Hi, i would appreciate any advice. I own a property 50/50 with my sister and am selling to her and her partner, who are getting a mortgage. I would like to do the process myself and it seems like i would just need to agree to her contract & fill out the relevant TA forms. Any comments/ advice would be amazing.

  6. Colin BoothColin Booth

    Hi there, my partner and I purchased our flat in 2016 through the usual channels of a solicitor etc. We are now in the process of purchasing an onsite store room from the developers, which will require a transfer of ownership/deeds from them to us.

    As this is such a small purchase in both size and value (relative to purchasing an actual domestic property) we were wondering if we could keep costs down by doing the conveyancing ourselves and avoiding hiring a solicitor. However neither of us have any legal experience.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Colin

  7. Mrs KeelingMrs Keeling

    Do I need to treat the sale of my house to my SVP Limited company as standard or can i just reregister the property to the company. There is no charge on property.

  8. Arlene kowalikArlene kowalik

    I own an ex council flat outright, the council are the leaseholders. I am selling the flat back to the council, there is no mortgage involved. Would it be straightforward for me to do the legal work myself to avoid paying solicitors fees. I am aware of all the Land Registry requirements and firms.

  9. Brian SutcliffeBrian Sutcliffe

    I have had several buy to let properties and also my main home, my 3 children are now purchasing the 2nd homes. Every conveyance has been troubled by poor quality conveyance solicitors, there is an increasing tendency for solicitors to blatantly look after their own liabilities rather than to work in the best interest of the clients. I have come to conclusion that the future has to be in DIY conveyancing, it is the only way to ensure efficient conveyancing.

  10. LarsLars

    Like Sally, I found self-conveyancing on a house with no mortgage easy. You are responding to questions from the seller’s solicitor and getting standard documents from the council, etc. The only problem I had was that the seller’s solicitor requested us to do an incorrect search (which they accepted and did themselves).

  11. LisaLisa

    Hello,
    My boyfriend and I are trying to buy a home in the UK. Neither of us own property in the UK. We would be considered “first time buyers” except he owns a plot of land abroad.
    We will both be on the mortgage but I will be the only one named on the title. Our solicitor is telling us that he has to pay £13200 stamp duty on the house which we are buying for 290k.
    Why does he have to pay stamp duty if he won’t be on the title and the house is under 300k ?

  12. Sally BradbrookSally Bradbrook

    I sold a mortgage free freehold house without a conveyancer (I had a private buyer). It was easy. As a seller I was just a ‘postbox’, had to provide little, just reply/respond/provide when asked. I read a Which book (Guide to Doing Your Own Conveyancing) and 101 Things Your Estate Agent Should Tell You. The only issue was that the buyer’s solicitor asked me to pay the buyer’s costs. I was asked if I had any questions and when I said that I presumed it was all standard, I was told that the only thing that wasn’t standard was this. This was at the time of signing, and I was so utterly exhausted by clearing the house, that I couldn’t think and agreed. Now I regret that but wasn’t prepared.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Thanks for sharing your experience Sally.

  13. Sally BradbrookSally Bradbrook

    When searching, the results show people asking questions or commenting on selling property. The link actually leads to your own blurb, not personal issues and experiences unless you get as far as the comments, which, of course, only recommend using agents/ solicitors etc. This is deceptive. I used to get the HOA newsletter, but now it is just another marketing site. Disappointing.

    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Sorry that you couldn’t find what you were looking for Sally.

  14. samanthasamantha

    Through Divorce my former spouse is to transfer the former matrimonial home to me. The home is a flat and a former right to buy from the council and involves a lease. He is seeking to use a non qualified professional and relative to carry out the transfer that involves a mortgage and service charge.

    I have been asked to complete an identity form for land and registry. He has not completed form TR1 and is seeking to use the former matrimonial home as his address when completing the form AP1 form. In addition his form AP1 form is incomplete and no where is the name of the lender or landlord.

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Samantha, as you’ll have seen from our guide, it’s risky carrying out your own conveyancing, and we’d recommend that it’s done by professionals.

  15. Megan AlderMegan Alder

    My brother is wanting to buy some property in littlehampton and is thinking about doing conveyancing himself rather than hiring a conveyancer. I have just been looking around to gather some more information and I think this article brings up some good points. I think it depends on how much money we could potentially save and whether or not it is worth the risk. I’m a little bit more conservative, so I am going to try to convince him not not do it himself.

  16. Paul FieldPaul Field

    My 3 brothers and I were left a house in our Mothers will 18 mths ago. There is no mortgage and our joint ownership is registered with the land registry. One of my Brothers wants to sell his share and we, the remaining 3 Brothers, are happy to buy his share equally between us.
    We have all agreed a value of £150,000 and wish to proceed asap. Everything is very amicable and fair and the property was handled by a Solicitor at the probate and land registry stage when my Mother passed away in 2016.
    As the transaction is so simple we are reluctant to pay £650 to a sellers solicitor and another £650 to a buyers solicitor because, as they put it, a possible “conflict of interest”.
    My questions are:
    – Why can`t my Brothers and I just sign an agreement witnessed, stamped and signed by a Solicitor agreeing to what we have collectively agreed?
    – If that is not possible how to i go about carrying out the legal work myself?

  17. john mcveliajohn mcvelia

    I ACTUALLY DO NOT WANT TO DO MY OWN CONVEYANCING,BUT I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH SOLICITORS,I AM SELLING A FLAT THERE IS NO MORTGAGE ON IT I OWN IT OUTRIGHT,BUT IT HAS TAKEN SIX MONTHS SO FAR AND I HAVE STILL HAVE NOT GOT ANY IDEA OF COMPLETION DATE OR EVEN EXCHANGE OF CONTRACTS,IS THERE A COMPANY OUT THERE WHO ONLY DO CONVEYANCE,I THINK THE MAIN LINE SOLICITORS HAVE BIGGER CASES TO TEND TO AND THE LANDLORDS SEEM TO BE LEFT UNTIL THEY HAVE GOT A SPARE MOMENT TO ATTEND TO IT ,EVERY TIME I HAVE PHONED THE COMPANY I AM TOLD THE HAVE TO GET MY FILE TO GIVE ME AN UPDATE THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR 6 MONTHS, WITH HAVING TO PAY THE MORTGAGE ,SERVICE CHARGE ,GROUND, AND HAVING TO KEEP IT EMPTY ,PAY THE PROPERTY TAX,AND LOSS ,OF RENT ,AS IT IS A IT HAS COST ME APPROX £9500 PLUS £460. FOR INFORMATION PACK FROM THE SERVICE COMPANY,CLOSER TO £10,000 ,THAT NOT COUNTING THE SOLICITORS FEE,ON ESTATE AGENTS FEE,HOW DO THERE COMPLETE AUCTION PROPERTY SO QUICKLY, CAN YOU ADVISE ME , REGARDS A DESPERATE SELLER,

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Dear John,

      You can search for solicitors through our site here. You can research companies that come up on the search results as to whether they specialise solely in conveyancing and decide from there. If you are member of HOA you would get a 10% discount on fees and you also get access to the HomeHelpline service so we could assist you further. Do have a look at our sellers guide for our top tips. This is our guide to How to sell your house at auction.

      Best wishes,
      Sophie
      HomeOwners Alliance

  18. JanetJanet

    I am selling a flat to my son which I own outright, am I able to do my own conveyancing? It is worth £65,000.

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Dear Janet,

      We do not advocate DIY conveyancing – please see my earlier reply to Brian on this comments thread which explains why. You would want to ensure that all processes are completed correctly and a solicitor knowing the ins and outs should guide you correctly through all this.

      Best wishes,
      Sophie
      HomeOwners Alliance

  19. BrianBrian

    I am selling a house on behalf of my 95 year old father who is not looking to buy another property with his money.
    An online estate agent has already found a cash buyer for the full amount and he is ready to accept the offer.
    Why do we require a conveyancing solicitor when it is such a simple transaction?

    • Sophie KhanSophie Khan

      Dear Brian,
      As you would have noted from our online guide we do not advocate DIY conveyancing. On the face of it your situation seems straight forward, however you would need to ensure that property is transferred over correctly, that no debts are outstanding, that relevant searches are carried out, land registration and deeds are all in good order, and that all legal processes are completed. We would advise you to speak with a conveyancing solicitor for more clarity on the process so you can avoid any pitfalls. You can search for solicitors through our site: Compare Conveyancing Quotes and if you become a member you would receive a 10% discount on the fees.

      Best wishes,
      Sophie
      HomeOwners Alliance

  20. Ted CharltonTed Charlton

    Why are you so negative about the raising of a
    purchase invoice and the purchase being
    recorded and lodged at a Government
    Registry.

  21. Legal GuriLegal Guri

    I employed a so called professional solicitor to do the conveyancing for the purchase of a £500K property that I bought, it later turned out the title was defective when I came to sell it. Even Stevie Wonder could spotted the title defect ! The net result was the property could not be sold as it was deemed worthless and the said solicitor ended up in the court and his indemnity insurance footing my claim for compensation.

    Conveyancing is not rocket science, it is made to appear all smoke and mirrors to justify the extortionate these solicitors charge. Save yourself the hassle, risk and cost to do your own conveyancing, it’s simple !

  22. ‘Glen at AP lawyers’.‘Glen at AP lawyers’.

    Great article, However, always err on the side of caution, pay a professional as there are so many costly and time consuming errors that can be made.

  23. solicitors in plymouthsolicitors in plymouth

    What a great article!. I am bookmarking it to read it over again after work. It seems like a very interesting topic to write about.

  24. Act Conveyancing SydneyAct Conveyancing Sydney

    I would recommend not doing conveyancing yourself.

  25. Online Conveyancing QuoteOnline Conveyancing Quote

    great article, personally we would recommend not doing it yourself as you could make mistakes that you will have to live with. Whereas if you get a professional to help they will ensure no mistakes are made.

  26. ChesterChester

    I can tile but I wouldn’t do a very good job if I tiled my whole bathroom, at least not as good as a person who does it all day long. Conveyancing is the same, most people have an idea of the basics but people hire experts for a reason, if you miss a detail you’ll have to live with it.

  27. Dom BoydDom Boyd

    After reading this article, I’m convinced that I should hire a conveyancing lawyer when buying my first home. I thought I’d be able to do it myself, but I’m not sure that’s the best decision. I love saving money by doing things myself, but in this case, it’s probably not the wisest decision.

  28. Mark CBMark CB

    John Aldred – by coincidence, you and I appear to be in the same game: purchasing a small field at auction. How are you getting on? Did you receive a response? Hoping you see or receive this reply, I’d be interested in any lessons you have to offer…

  29. john aldredjohn aldred

    I have purchased a small field at auction and paid the 10% deposite. Could you advise me on the process of finalising the conveyancing process and whether I could save money by doing it myself?

  30. David RashleighDavid Rashleigh

    I am buying an ex council house, now privately owned, for cash ( no mortgage). Before retirement I worked as a Collector of Taxes for HMIT, and so am used to forms and paperwork. You warn against DIY conveyancing, but with my background I feel confident to undertake the task with the information provided on websites.Are you prepared to comment?

 
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