Solicitors: Do you need one to sell your house?

Do you need a solicitor to sell your house?

One of the most common questions asked by first time buyers and sellers is ‘do I need a solicitor to sell my house?’ Solicitor fees have been rising recently and can cost anywhere from £500 to £2,000, making a lot of people wonder if a solicitor is truly needed. 

Legally, you are not required to employ a solicitor when selling your house, but it is very uncommon not to. People train for years in property law to become solicitor’s and they are considered experts in their field, we’d definitely advise employing one, especially if this is your first time selling a property. 

Your solicitor will act in your best interest, making sure contracts are fair and proper. They may pick up on things that you might have missed including unfair terms.

Still don’t want to employ a solicitor? Here are your options:

Employ a licensed conveyancer instead

In England and Wales, you can opt to have a licensed conveyancer instead of a solicitor to help with the sale of your house. Both solicitors and licensed conveyancers are regulated legal professionals who train for many years in property law but there are some differences which you’ll need to know before making the decision. 

  • Solicitors and licensed conveyancers are governed by different bodies; the Law Society for solicitors and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) for conveyancers.
  • Conveyancers have no legal obligation to disclose any referral fees they received from estate agents of other bodies unlike solicitors.
  • Licensed conveyancers are not limited in their ability to act on both sides of the transaction as solicitors are.
  • Conveyancers can be cheaper than solicitors but the price isn’t vastly different. However, when buying or selling a house, every penny counts so a conveyancer can still be a great option for those on a tight budget. 

Sell your house yourself

As mentioned above, you’re not required by law to employ a solicitor when selling your house, but we strongly advise that you do! To help you understand why 99% of people employ a solicitor or a conveyancer, we’ve mapped out the route you’ll need to take to sell your own house.

You’ll need to:

  • Obtain title deeds and fill in the necessary questionnaires.
  • Agree on a figure for your mortgage settlement and pay off the remainder of the mortgage (if necessary).
  • Write up a contract for sale and send it to everyone involved.
  • Liaise with your potential buyer’s solicitor if they have one.
  • Agree on a moving date with the buyer or those acting on their behalf.
  • Receive the house deposit.
  • Prepare a final statement.
  • Approve the deed of transfer.
  • Hand the property deeds over to the buyer and send any outstanding balance to you.

Why you might not be allowed to do it yourself

In some instances, like if you’re selling a leasehold or mortgaged property, you might not be allowed to sell your house without legal counsel. Most leaseholders and mortgagers will want a qualified legal professional to deal with the sale. Selling a leasehold property can be very complex so it’s always advised you have a legal expert.

Most banks and mortgagers will insist that you use a solicitor when selling or buying. They’re quite helpful though and have their own list of recognised solicitors. It’s always best to do your own research though, as banks and mortgagers will often earn referral fees from solicitors.

Another issue you may run into when selling your house yourself is that you will have no liability insurance if mistakes are made. Solicitors and conveyancers will be required to have all sorts of insurances to cover any mistakes and lawsuits resulting from them. If you choose to sell your house yourself, you won’t have any of these insurances and should any mistakes be made, you could face a potentially expensive lawsuit.  

Is it worth it?

We would argue that no, it’s not worth it. There is an abundance of solicitors out there for you to choose from and the risk of a potential lawsuit makes selling your house without a solicitor pointless. 

Thinking of selling your house? Contact us now for a quote!

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