The downfalls of attempting your own conveyancing

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Many homebuyers have taken to doing their own conveyancing to save money, but it is leading to huge problems. Here, we explain what those problems are.

House prices rising has left homebuyers looking to save money in an array of areas, including a new craze of “DIY” conveyancing. While this may minimise any financial outlay, it is likely to land the homebuyer in deep water from a legal point of view.

How much can I save by doing my own conveyancing?

Recent research has found that the average upfront cost of buying a home is in the region of £38,000. This includes fees relating to the deposit, stamp duty and a valuation fee. The money saved from undertaking your own conveyancing will save approximately £300 - £600, which is a fraction of the overall costs.

Considering the huge risks that it entails, it is hard to understand why the extra few hundred pound to get an expert to complete the conveyancing is being overlooked. Particularly due to the fact that there a risk you may be paying much more than £300 - £600 if a mistake occurs.

What can happen if do my own conveyancing?

Firstly, while it is legal, and possible in theory, there are only a few situations in which you can act for yourself. This would be in relation to transferring equity, a cash purchase (with no mortgage), or a sale with no existing mortgage to redeem.

Even if you do fit these criteria, it can still be a minefield of paperwork which requires a huge commitment of time and effort. This is alongside a relative understanding of property law. 

You may have the time and want to learn about the area, which is fine. The biggest risk, however, comes in the form negligence insurance. Only qualified legal professionals have negligence insurance readily available, meaning if you make a mistake in the conveyancing process, you will be personally liable which would end up making the cost significantly higher.

You may also already be paying for the conveyancing without realising, and without any of the legal protection. Some mortgage lenders appoint their own solicitor to look after their side before agreeing to lend money. This service is charged to the buyers, meaning you could be paying for the conveyancing without gaining anything from the service.

A final and often overlooked issue an individual can face is the difficulty of liaising with the seller’s conveyancer without any prior conveyancing licence or extensive knowledge and experience of property law. The conveyancer on the seller’s side will not cater for someone who does not have all of the legal jargon. They will simply continue the process as usual, leaving you to get to grips with many of the technical terms and areas. You will also have to do all of the chasing if the conveyancer on their side is being slow.

What can a conveyancer do for me?

An expert conveyancer can make the whole process of buying a house run smoothly, if all things on the other side are running smoothly too.

They will provide you with terms of engagement (including their fees and the deposits you need to pay), and will then contact your seller’s solicitor to obtain a draft contract and the necessary forms and other documents, such as the property title deeds.

Your conveyancer will study the draft contract and documents to see what, if anything, needs to be investigated further. They will also carry out property searches to ensure there are no issues hidden below the surface, both figuratively and literally. The conveyancer will also check that the finance is in place, ready to allow the safe exchange or contracts.

While on the face of it it seems like a straightforward task, many conveyancers are experts in their field and can both speed the process up and avoid any potential issues you may face if you were to do it yourself. With it being probably the biggest and most important purchase of your life, it makes sense to ensure all of these potential issues are handled by an expert.

How can Percy Hughes & Roberts help?

At Percy Hughes & Roberts, our residential conveyancers help hundreds of people each year to move house. Our team can help take you through the process of one of potentially the most stressful dealings that you are likely to encounter, whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned property owner.

Each residential purchase or sale is dealt with from instruction to completion by the same conveyancer, so you always know who to talk to throughout the process.

If you would like any more information regarding property sales and purchases, you can contact our expert Conveyancers by calling today on the number at the top of the page, or by completing the "Get in touch" form. Click here for more information.