Do I need a Solicitor?

The short answer is yes!  It is important that you instruct a Solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to carry out the legal conveyancing work when you buy a property. They will help you in the following ways:

  • Give expert advice and explain the house buying process, highlighting what you need to do.
  • Obtain and check the title deeds to ensure the property actually does belong to the seller.
  • Carry out searches for you and your lender-this will include local searches, collate details of any up-coming developments which could affect the property value as well as checking the property’s boundaries-this is so that you will have as much knowledge as possible about the property before you decide to buy.
  • Prepare a fixtures and fittings and contents list which will include the items that you wish to remain in the property and be included in the price such as carpets. They will also check to see if there are any structural or other defects in the property that you should know about.
  • Advising you on the seller’s draft contract for sale –they will ensure that all proper investigations are carried out and that any property related problems are resolved before exchanging contracts.
  • Agree a date for completion and then carry out all the steps required for completion such as transferring your funds at the correct time in order for you to get your keys. They will also help you complete your tax return, make arrangements for the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) to the HMRC.  They will then register your name as the owner of the property and your mortgage provider as the lender with the Land Registry.

It is important to know that this list applies to a first mortgage but can also apply to a re-mortgage of your property. However, many lenders do provide free legal assistance when you re-mortgage your house, which means that you may not need to instruct a Solicitor or a licensed Conveyancer in this matter.

All in all, instructing a Solicitor/licensed Conveyancer is a key part of the chain when you purchase your first property.