When you’re buying or selling a home, the amount of paperwork and legal mumbo-jumbo you’re confronted with is dizzying. Not to mention really, really boring. To navigate it all, and relieve some of the stress and confusion it can bring, you’re going to want to appoint some legal assistance.
More specifically, you’re going to want to hire a solicitor or a conveyancer. These people have all of the knowledge, experience, and access required to protect your best interests during the buying and selling journey, making sure that all the right questions are asked and that the whole process runs as smoothly as possible.
When you’re navigating the property industry or conducting your online research, you’ll come across those two words, solicitor and conveyancer, time and time again, often uttered in the same breath, and seemingly used interchangeably.
But what’s the difference between the two? And are you better off hiring one over the other?
The process of legally changing property ownership from one person to another is called conveyancing. A conveyancer is a person who specialises in this process and knows every inch and step of it intimately.
Because a conveyancer concerns themself only with conveyancing, it could be argued that they have more knowledge than any other type of legal professional. And with a simple, problem-free conveyancing process, they are ideally suited to serve your needs.
But, the conveyancing process can often be complicated, and problems big and small can arise. In such cases, a conveyancers specialist knowledgebase can actually prove too limited to provide the level of help you need.
That’s why you might want to consider appointing a solicitor instead.
A solicitor is a legal practitioner who is trained and works in almost all types of legal process and therefore has a much wider knowledge base than a conveyancer does.
If you choose to appoint a conveyancing solicitor, you can be confident that, even if the conveyancing process becomes a complicated one, they will be well positioned to help you. If, for example, there are any disagreements or conflicts, some of which can end in your having to go to court (if the seller breaches a contract clause, for example), your solicitor is able to keep representing you whereas a conveyancer would be well out of their comfort zone.
Is it a high-risk property, or are you set for plain sailing?
Because of this wide-ranging knowledge and experience, a solicitor will often charge much more money than a conveyancer and, if the conveyancing process goes without a hitch, this extra expense will have been unnecessary because a cheaper conveyancer could’ve easily handled everything.
You need to consider how likely it is that the conveyancing process will be a complicated one. If the property you’re hoping to buy or sell is an old one, for example, or if it’s a listed building in a protected area, the chance of complications arising is much higher than if you’re buying a new-build house on a residential estate.
But predicting the future is easier said than done. So, if you’re working with a tight budget, we’d recommend hiring a conveyancer and hoping for the best, safe in the knowledge that you can appoint a solicitor at a later date if required. But if peace of mind is more important to you than saving money, get yourself a conveyancing solicitor, sit back and relax, happy that whatever the conveyancing process brings up, they’ll be able to sort it out for you.
Did you go for a solicitor or a conveyancer? Was it the right decision? Let us know in the comments section below.
And if you have a conveyancing-related question for our property expert, Russell Quirk, drop it in the comments below and he will get back to you quick as a flash.