Conveyancer vs Solicitor: What’s The Difference?

Moving house is something of a trial by fire for most people. That is, for anyone who doesn’t know the first thing about conveyancing, property law, mortgage applications and packing electricals without all the cables spontaneously entangling themselves in a cardboard box.

Finding people who can help you through the process and simplify what can be simplified isn’t just advisable – it’s essential. House purchases and sales take a lot of time, a lot of work, and a lot of attention to detail if you want to circumvent any unwanted surprises (or impassable blocks) down the line, and that means that reaching out to the experts is the most important thing you can do when you make the decision to buy or move.

But who are those experts? Do you need to contact a solicitor to handle the paperwork, or simply work with a conveyancer instead?

What does a solicitor do?

In broad terms, a solicitor is a legal professional with a particular speciality in property law. They may also hold expertise in a range of other legal branches or work at a firm like Willans which specialises in a variety of areas like family law or commercial law, but the key element to remember is their status as a lawyer.

This means that they’re equipped to assist clients through more complex legal situations that can arise when property changes hands, as well as straightforward purchases and sales. Their scope is much broader, and that can be invaluable if things don’t go as expected – a common occurrence when it comes to moving house or buying property.

Due to their training and expertise, solicitors are generally the more expensive option for conveyancing, but, as we’ll explore below, this additional cost represents an important safeguard against complications that can very easily get out of hand.

What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancer is not a legal professional. Instead, they have particular training and experience in managing the routine elements of property sale and purchase. Their scope is narrower, and their speciality lies squarely within the remit of property transactions.

Which is the better choice?

There are plenty of cases where a conveyancer is more than capable of managing a smooth house sale or purchase, but the key thing to remember is that things can very easily go off course and become much more complicated than we imagine they will be. From the moment you make an offer and beyond completion day, there’s always the risk of something unwanted popping up.

In these cases, it always pays to have a qualified, practising solicitor by your side. True, you can always catch them up to speed if and when a legal issue does crop up, but speed is of the essence when it comes to house purchases and sales, and it really does pay to have a solicitor who already knows the ins and outs of your case on hand in the first instance.

None of us can foretell how our next house sale or purchase will go, and we can’t guarantee it will be without issue. For that reason alone, working with a solicitor rather than a conveyancer is often the advisable option – you never know when their expertise will prove pivotal to your case. 

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