When selling and buying houses there are a few options available and it is important that you are fully informed before making any decisions

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Clare WatersParalegal & Executive of Completions Team

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Can I sell my house without instructing a solicitor?

It is possible to sell your property without a property lawyer. The most popular alternative is to instruct a conveyancer. Conveyancers are also regulated professionals that deal with the legal work required in buying and selling property.

If you are trying to decide on whether to instruct a conveyancer or solicitor there is one key difference that you may need to consider. Conveyancers do not generally have the same level of knowledge about other areas of law such as tax planning and family law. Although these skills may not be required in all cases, all house sales and purchases vary in issues and complexities that arise and a full conveyancing service is recommended at the beginning to avoid complications during the process.

Alternatively, it is possible to carry out your own conveyancing. However, it is always better to have a legal professional on your side, not only to advise on issues that may arise with the title to the property but also to prevent money laundering issues or hackers who are able to divert funds.

At Brachers, conveyancing solicitors in Kent, we are experienced in all aspects of residential property sales and other aspects of law. Therefore to help those looking for advice on who to instruct to help with the legal aspects of selling a house we have set out a brief summary of each point below. Brachers residential conveyancing process flowchart also illustrates this process.

  1. Checking the title to your property – A solicitor or conveyancer will have the relevant experience in the transfer of equity and the knowledge to flag up any potential queries with the title as obtained by the land registry. The property may be unregistered or be registered with a restriction or charge that may need to be resolved.
  2. Drawing up the contract for sale - A solicitor or conveyancer will draft a contract according to the type of transaction. They will be able to include any special conditions needed for your particular sale and therefore protect you.
  3.  Sorting out issues that the buyer’s solicitors may raise - Buyer’s solicitors will raise enquiries regarding your property sale. Any response given can be relied upon, should the buyer then wish to do so in a litigious matter, so it is vital that these are answered in the correct way. If you reply to the enquiries you could end up giving warranties whereas a solicitor would protect you and not allow you to word it in such a way. In the sale of a leasehold property these matters would be more complex. A solicitor or conveyancer will be best equipped to deal with enquiries of this nature as they are experienced in this field.
  4.  Completing the sale - When a sale is completed the funds are sent to your solicitor by the buyer’s solicitor after they have done their relevant checks to make sure they are sending them to a valid solicitor’s client account. In the absence of seller’s solicitors, money would need to be sent directly to the sellers. This poses a huge risk as far as the money laundering regulations are concerned. The buyer’s solicitors will always be reluctant to send money directly to sellers.
  5.  Redeeming any existing lending against the property on completion - The seller’s solicitors need to provide undertakings to show that any current mortgage on the house will be removed at completion, as this will satisfy the buyer’s solicitors. Undertakings are the promises that solicitors make and if they fail to carry out a promise, they can face a severe penalty, or in a worse case scenario they can be struck off. If you do not have a solicitor acting on your behalf, an undertaking will not be provided, which means the buyer’s solicitors would be completing the transaction without confirmation that the mortgage will ever be repaid. This is a huge risk for buyers and their solicitor will not let them proceed.

Selling a house and buying a house can be a minefield if you are doing it alone. Please do instruct a law firm to conduct this work for you, as not only can they make sure that your interests are protected but they will also be able to tackle any complex issues that may arise throughout the process.

How can Brachers help?

Brachers offers experienced residential conveyancing solicitors in Maidstone and will provide expert legal advice and can help with the entire transaction from start to finish. For more information please see how we can help with residential property conveyancing, get an instant quote with our conveyancing fees calculator or contact myself or one of the Residential Property Conveyancing Team.