Do I Need a Solicitor To Sell a House In The UK?

Learn about the role of a solicitor in selling a house, whether you can skip their services, and the benefits of using one for a smooth property sale.


Selling a house in the UK, or indeed anywhere, is a major event requiring professional legal assistance. Your home is also likely to be your largest financial asset making it even more important you get the best advice and the right services. Once you’ve found the right buyer and negotiated the best price, you then have to deal with a large amount of legal paperwork.


In fact, it’s the legalities that can cause people to feel stressed about selling their house more so than the financial aspect. Legal processes can take a long time, and they cost a significant amount of money. It’s for this reason that many house buyers wonder whether or not they do actually need a solicitor to sell their house.


To answer this question, and to consider the role a solicitor plays in a house sale, we’ve collated some handy information and tips below so you can move forward more informed on the topic:


The role of a solicitor in a house sale


A solicitor is a legal expert who makes sure that the property sale proceeds smoothly and within all laws and regulations relevant to the sale. They conduct due diligence on your property, checking for any legal issues like loans, illegal building works or boundary issues.


Their core role is handling the massive amount of paperwork involved in a property sale or purchase – and often both at the same time. They have to check every document, create new documents, ensure all legal requirements are met and liaise with the solicitors of the buyer and/or seller.


In situations where there are challenges like disputes, complications, extra considerations like lease purchases and changes in the house deeds, they are best placed to be able to handle those changes and needs, and ensure everything is legally handled.


When you might not need a solicitor to sell your house

When it comes to selling your house in the UK, you don’t have to hire a solicitor. You could instead use a licensed conveyancer. They are professionals who are able to handle the legal work involved in a property sale in the same way solicitors do. However, there are some key differences. Conveyancers are not regulated by the Law Society and instead are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. This is because they specialise in conveyancing and have in-depth knowledge in that particular area, but have no wider knowledge of additional legalities like solicitors do. Taxes, family law and additional complexities in a house sale mean that a conveyancer, in some instances, is not the ideal candidate for handling your property sale. Most people choose to use a licensed conveyancer in very simple property transactions and sales only.


You can, of course, also handle the property sale yourself. However, this is not recommended at all unless you have a lot of property law experience, and all the relevant qualifications. Even then, it may be too close to home to work on, and you may find it is too much to take on in addition to your daily job and family life. Mistakes in this kind of scenario can be costly, if not illegal, so DIY conveyancing is generally not considered an option suitable for many – if any – homeowners looking to sell their house.


Whilst it is not a legal necessity to use a solicitor to sell a house, most people would say it is a sensible choice. There are many complexities in selling a house that require legal expertise, and a solicitor will be familiar with those complexities, ensuring that your house sale is handled legally, quickly and properly.



Read our Step-By-Step Guide to Buying a House


Key benefits of hiring a solicitor to sell your house


Selling your house in the UK with the help of a solicitor comes with some huge benefits, including:


  • Expertise – Solicitors have studied property law at length ensuring every step of your sale is handled in the most effective way.
  • Handling Mounds Of Paperwork – There is a lot of paperwork involved in a house sale, and your solicitor is paid to deal with absolutely all of it, ensuring everything is properly filed, submitted and dealt with in good time.
  • Avoiding Costly Mistakes – A solicitor not only handles challenges within a house sale, but also alerts you to potential issues that could cause you to want to pull out of the sale. Major issues highlighted by them, like boundary disputes or illegal work done on the house, could save you a lot of money and upset in the future had the sale gone ahead with the issue remaining unresolved or undiscovered.
  • Legal Protection – A solicitor is your legal safety net, ensuring your best interests are protected throughout.
  • Peace Of Mind – You have plenty to deal with handling the rest of the move to your new place – thank goodness for a solicitor handling all the paperwork to reduce your stress.


Finding the right solicitor: at a glance


  • Choose solicitors who have expertise in property law
  • Look for solicitors with experience working in your local area
  • Ask friends, family members and colleagues for recommendations
  • Compare quotes from different solicitors for fees
  • Check online reviews
  • Ask as many questions as you need to
  • Ensure costs are transparent
  • Look for a solicitor who has availability
  • Verify the solicitor is regulated by the SRA
  • Check their credentials
  • Have an initial meeting to ensure you feel comfortable with the solicitor
  • Trust your instincts



Hiring a solicitor: the smart move for selling your UK home


As you are selling your house, you might be considering whether or not hiring a solicitor is the smart choice. After all, it is so tempting to save a hefty chunk of money going it alone or with the cheaper services of a conveyancer. However, property sales are so complex and so much can go wrong – hiring a solicitor really is a wise choice that can save you worry, stress, time and money.


Do your research, check out your options and make an informed decision. In the end, though, the chances are that the money a solicitor costs is a wise investment that’s more than worth the dent in your bank balance long term.



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