In the UK we are not prohibited from doing our own conveyancing, but is it really worth the risks involved? There is a huge amount of work involved in even the simplest property transaction and numerous traps for the unwary.
What are the pitfalls of DIY conveyancing?
Property law in the UK has been evolving since 1066, with layer upon layer of legislation and case law. This makes it complex and full of unforeseen traps. It is even more complicated if your property is leasehold.
The general rule is buyer beware – or ‘caveat emptor’. You need to know which questions to ask the seller, and how to interpret the answers and the results of searches. If you have not asked the correct questions, or made the correct searches, you will not have any comeback against the seller.
Identity and money laundering checks are an essential element these days to reduce the risk of fraud. It is far more difficult for someone doing their own conveyancing to comply with the rules.
Your mortgage company will almost certainly insist on a solicitor. They need properties they are lending on to be properly checked.
Once you have bought a property you need to file a Stamp Duty Land Tax return and register the property at the Land Registry. Calculating SDLT is complex and there are penalties if you get it wrong, or file too late. It is also difficult for a non-specialist to fulfill the Land Registry’s requirements for registering a property.
Is using a solicitor for your conveyancing worth it?
The short answer is yes, it is. A conveyancing solicitor will make the process as quick and simple as possible for you helping to minimise the stress and uncertainty of the transaction. They are best placed to deal with your mortgage company, the Land Registry, HMRC and the other party.
Solicitors are required to have at least £2 million professional indemnity insurance. This means that if they make a mistake, you are covered by their insurance.
If you need a quote for solicitor fees for buying a house, click here for solicitor fees for buying a house.
For most people, buying a property is the biggest single financial transaction of their lives and one of the most stressful too. It is simply not worth the risk of making mistakes.