Moving home is a huge financial expense and many buyers and sellers will do their due diligence to look at all the associated costs to try and find ways in which they can save money on their move. While many wouldn’t consider taking on the legal transfer of ownership of a property themselves – for others this may just be an area they’d feel comfortable in managing.

The question is, can DIY conveyancing be a cost-saving exercise for the untrained individual? The answer is yes – self conveyancing is possible for a simple, straightforward transaction provided you have the time to manage the process and understand the legal jargon then you’d not be the first, or last, to try it. But you should make yourself aware of the risks involved before looking to take this on yourself.

Firstly, if you’re looking to manage the conveyancing for the sale or purchase of a property you need to understand that if anything goes wrong during the transaction you are solely responsible. Whereas a licensed conveyancer or solicitor will have a professional negligence insurance policy that, if a serious mistake is made, will keep you covered.

What’s more, if you’re taking out a mortgage against the property you’re buying the lender will insist on appointing a solicitor before lending you the money to protect their interests, therefore, you’ll still have to pay for a conveyancer you just won’t benefit from their personal protection.

While most licensed conveyancers and solicitors cannot match the time and attention you can to manage your transaction, the reality is with many parties involved in a sale and/or purchase of a property, especially when you’re in a chain, you only go as fast as the slowest party involved.

As well as buying a property with a mortgage there are other scenarios that would make DIY conveyancing incredibly difficult, including:

  • If the vendors are divorcing or separating
  • If the property is unregistered
  • Buying or selling anything other than a freehold property (e.g. Leasehold or commonhold)
  • The property is anything other than a house
  • Buying or selling only part of a property (e.g. if you were selling a piece of your garden to a developer).
  • Buying or selling at auction

The bottom line is that DIY conveyancing is labour intensive, you have to put the effort into understanding the legal terminology or you could risk making a huge mistake in your transaction, and it’s far from rewarding. The other reality is it’s just the solicitor’s fee you’ll be saving, between £500-£1,500 plus VAT, you’ll still have the disbursements and stamp duty to pay.

It’s also worth taking note that as the industry has evolved more streamlined process have been adopted and therefore solicitors and licensed conveyancers are now able to offer more competitive rates. But beware the cheapest isn’t necessarily going to be the most rewarding in terms of time and attention to your transaction so make sure you do your research.

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