Solicitors are the professionals who help transfer the ownership of a house from one owner to another. It’s extremely rare for a seller to undertake the work themselves without the help of a qualified solicitor. But it is very possible to do your own legal work if you choose.
Do you need a solicitor to sell your house? No, but we strongly recommend you do.
Who does the conveyancing work?
You will need a solicitor whether you are buying or selling a house. Both of these processes require a qualified solicitor. One solicitor will normally do both the buying & selling legal work for you. So every buyer/seller has their own qualified solicitor working for them.
When do I need a solicitor?
If you are the seller you will need to instruct the solicitor once you have an offer for your house which is acceptable to you. Your estate agent will have handled everything for you up to this point. The written offers needs to be given to your solicitor and they will then commence the legal work for you.
Its highly recommended that you get a quote and register as a client with a solicitor to sell your house nice and early. Just so you are prepared if you get an offer quickly. Best to instruct a solicitor even before your house goes to the open market.
If you are the buyer you will need to instruct the solicitor once you have seen a property you would like to offer for. They will prepare the written offer on your behalf and submit it to the sellers.
What does a solicitor do?
If you have decided to instruct a property solicitor to sell your house and complete the legal work then their main task is to liaise with the solicitor acting for your buyer. They will then work together to complete the legal process seamlessly, quickly and professionally.
Your solicitor will fully review the written offer you receive for your house. They will also fully review the contracts and documents to ensure your interests are protected and that there is nothing of concern.
Once your solicitor is satisfied they will finalise the contract to sell your house to the buyer.
Paying off your mortgage
Your solicitor will ensure you pay off the mortgage for the house you are selling. Before completion date your solicitor will request a redemption statement from your mortgage lender. On the day you receive the money for the house from your buyer (completion day) your solicitor will send the money directly to your lender. Bye bye mortgage.
This also means your solicitor is ensuring the correct money is received from the buyer. Super important!
How much does it cost to have a solicitor sell your house?
The average cost of having a qualified solicitor sell your house will vary. It could be as low as £500 or it could be £2,500. It will vary depending on the size and value of your home and the level of complexities. Most solicitors will quote a fixed fee for the legal work with any further outlays added on top. For example searches and copies of titles. Fixed fees are great so you know what your paying from the very beginning. If it does increase during the process, your solicitor should explain why and tell you as soon as possible. No nasty surprises!
Can I do the legal work to sell my house myself?
Yes you are permitted to do your own legal work when selling or buying a house. However, houses are expensive! You are receiving or spending thousands and thousands of pounds. Probably hundreds of thousands of pounds. You would be crazy not to allocate a budget to have a trained property solicitor sell your house for you.
If you choose to do it yourself, and have the necessary legal knowledge, you could find your self in deep water in years to come. You could have disputes with your buyer further down the line about garden boundaries, parking spaces and rights of access. You need to discharge securities correctly and you need to make sure you are definitely removed as the legal owner of the house! A true minefield to the untrained person but, my goodness, a really important process.
Think carefully about this as it could hold up, or even ruin, your sale and buying process. We really do recommend having a solicitor when selling your house. If you plan to do DIY conveyancing in England & Wales gov.uk do offer some basic guidance here
This will also be helpful for you How much are solicitor costs for selling a house? Chosen your solicitor but not your estate agent? Here are my 12 qualities to look for in an estate agent and How to get your house ready to sell in 30 days