Who Does The Conveyancing When Selling A House?

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Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property ownership from seller to buyer. It involves extensive administrative and legal work best performed by property professionals. When selling a house, assigning responsibility for handling the conveyancing correctly is an important decision. But who takes charge of conveyancing work on the seller’s behalf? This guide examines conveyancing roles and typical arrangements when selling UK properties.

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing refers to the legal due diligence and paperwork required to transfer ownership when a property is sold. It is a mandatory process. Key conveyancing responsibilities include:

  • Performing property searches to uncover any issues
  • Checking planning permissions are in place
  • Verifying title deeds and ownership rights
  • Drafting the legal sales contract
  • Negotiating terms between parties
  • Facilitating the safe transfer of sale funds
  • Registering the buyer as the new proprietor

Conveyancing requires expertise to protect the seller’s interests.

Who Handles Conveyancing Work?

Only licenced specialists can perform conveyancing work for property sales:

  • Solicitors – Have legal training with conveyancing specialism
  • Licenced Conveyancers – Regulated specialists focusing solely on conveyancing

Both offer full conveyancing services meeting official standards. Solicitors have broader legal knowledge while licenced conveyancers specialise in conveyancing work only.

Does The Seller Do Their Conveyancing?

No – as conveyancing requires legal knowledge and training, it is extremely unwise for sellers to attempt to handle the conveyancing process themselves. DIY conveyancing risks:

  • Important legal work being missed or done incorrectly
  • Issues with title deeds or third-party rights go unnoticed
  • Inability to draw up binding sales contracts
  • Tax and mortgage implications being misunderstood
  • Failure to properly transfer and register ownership
  • Lack of protection if disputes arise from errors

Utilising accredited conveyancing professionals is strongly recommended.

Seller Conveyancing Options

The seller has several options regarding organising conveyancing:

  • Instruct an Independent Conveyancer

The seller can research and appoint an independent conveyancing solicitor or licenced conveyancer of their choice to act on their behalf. This avoids potential conflicts of interest and provides freedom to choose the most suitable firm.

  • Use the Estate Agent’s Recommended Conveyancer

Many estate agents recommend conveyancers they regularly work with who offer competitive rates. Whilst convenient, sellers should still consider alternative quotes.

  • Use the Buyer’s Conveyancer

In some cases, the buyer’s conveyancer may offer to act for both parties to speed up transactions. However the seller’s interests may be compromised, so independent advice is preferable.

  • Hire a Conveyancing Broker

Brokers can locate quality conveyancers offering competitive quotes on the seller’s behalf. Useful for securing deals, but broker fees apply.

In most cases, appointing an independent conveyancer allows sellers the greatest control over securing expertise and value.

When To Appoint a Conveyancer?

Ideally, sellers should engage a conveyancer:

  • When first considering selling, to commence preparatory work
  • When appointing an estate agent, to begin property checks
  • Upon accepting an offer, progress the transaction ASAP

This frontloads key tasks like drafting contracts, property forms and starting searches. Delaying until contracts are exchanged risks slowing progress.

What Does the Seller’s Conveyancer Do?

The seller’s appointed conveyancer handles key tasks including:

  • Performing property searches e.g. environmental checks
  • Verifying the title deeds are in order
  • Drafting the legally binding sales contract terms
  • Preparing property information forms for buyer’s conveyancer
  • Answering buyer conveyancer queries about the property
  • Negotiating sales terms and prices
  • Agreeing on suitable completion dates
  • Executing the exchange of contracts
  • Releasing keys upon receipt of funds on completion

The conveyancer keeps the seller updated throughout and secures the best deal possible.

Good Communication With the Conveyancer

The seller should maintain regular contact with their conveyancer throughout transactions, highlighting any issues arising promptly. With complex factors involved like property chains, the conveyancer relies on the client’s input to act effectively. Open dialogue ensures smooth conveyancing.

Conveyancing When Selling at Auction

Selling a house at auction requires equally rigorous conveyancing. Specialist auction conveyancers:

  • Perform faster searches and checks before auction lists
  • Offer ‘conveyancing included’ packages
  • Provide clearance for auctioneer contracts pre-sale
  • Expedite post-auction conveyancing to exchange quickly

Reputable auctioneers work with quality conveyancers helping sales progress smoothly.

Switching Conveyancers During Transactions

Changing conveyancers mid-transaction is possible but inadvisable. Starting again from scratch will delay sales. Consider alternatives like:

  • Formally complaining about service concerns
  • Requesting an alternative person to take over the case
  • Asking a senior partner to review issues

Unless conveyancing is severely substandard, conveying may be preferable to help get sales over the line.

Conclusion

Conveyancing is a mandatory process when selling a house requiring legal expertise. Appointing an accredited specialist conveyancing solicitor or licenced conveyancer to act in the seller’s interests ensures transactions proceed securely. Frontloading conveyancing preparations help sales progress quickly once offers come in. Maintaining communication with the chosen conveyancer assists effective outcomes protecting the seller’s legal and financial position.

  • Conveyancing when selling a property can only be performed by qualified specialists.
  • Sellers should ideally engage an independent conveyancer that best meets their needs.
  • Conveyancers should be appointed early on to commence preparatory work.
  • The conveyancer handles critical legal work like contracts and searches.
  • Changing conveyancers during a transaction can cause delays, so this should be avoided.
  • Effective conveyancing by specialists ensures a legal property sale process.

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