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How to choose a conveyancer

You’ve found your dream home, your offer has been accepted, and then the estate agent asks you who your conveyancer will be. Perhaps you’ve never bought a home before, or maybe the conveyancer you used on your last purchase just didn’t give you the service that you expected.

So, how do you choose the right conveyancer to make sure your experience is as smooth as possible?

Our guide will tell you everything you need to know, including what qualities to look for in a good conveyancer, and how to choose the right conveyancing that will be the best fit for you.

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It can feel like there is a lot of pressure to choose the right conveyancer.

And whilst true, choosing the right conveyancer shouldn’t be difficult. Let’s get into how you can make sure you pick the right one for you.

What’s the difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor?

You’ve probably heard of solicitors, property lawyers, and conveyancers since you’ve started your buying or selling journey, but what’s the difference?

When it comes to standard conveyancing, there isn’t much of a difference between a conveyancer and a solicitor. Both solicitors (who are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority) and Licensed Conveyancers (who are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers) are required to be fully regulated and insured.

In terms of handling your property transaction, they will adhere to the same conveyancing practices and procedures. However, it’s worth noting the main differences, because you’re likely to see a price difference when you compare conveyancing quotes.

  • Licensed conveyancers are specialist property lawyers, focusing largely on residential property. They handle transactions like sales, purchases and remortgages every day.
  • A solicitor is a qualified lawyer, with training in many aspects of law. They can offer legal advice on property sales, purchases and re-mortgages, but could also advise on boundary disputes and property investment as well. A solicitor may also advise on matters which aren’t related to property law, such as divorce, family law, and prenuptial agreements as well.

At Eden, our firm is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), but our property lawyers are accredited by both the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the CLC.

Sam Strong, our Head of Conveyancing, has been a qualified property solicitor since 2006 and is dual accredited as she is also a qualified Licensed Conveyancer.

Check out our guide to conveyancing to learn more.

 

When should you use a solicitor rather than a conveyancer?

Both solicitors and conveyancers can manage residential conveyancing. A fully qualified solicitor may be the best choice if you are dealing with a difficult transaction. Perhaps you need legal advice beyond property law, or you need someone to represent you in court.

Solicitors are highly skilled, but they might not specialise in property law, something that conveyancers always will.

Here is what to look for when choosing a conveyancer or solicitor:

1. Good communication

When deciding which conveyancer to choose, when and how often they communicate with you is a key consideration. One of the major issues that many customers have with their conveyancing firm is poor communication. Before you choose your conveyancer, it’s helpful to ask the following questions:

- Who will have responsibility for your transaction?
- Will they handle your case personally or rely on less-qualified assistants?
- How can you communicate with them?
- Will there be a dedicated point of contact if they go on holiday or are absent from work?


At Eden, we don't rely on assistants, you'll have your own dedicated property lawyer assigned to your case from beginning to end. You will have a direct number to contact them easily, and also receive updates through the MyEden platform.

And there is no such thing as a stupid question. If you aren’t sure about something, then just ask!

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2. Positive reviews

Choosing your conveyancer is tough, but clients reviews can help shape a picture of what a conveyancer is truly like.

Reviews are one of the best ways to get an unbiased opinion about a company, from a customer who’s used them in the past.

Have a look at the different firms you’ve received a quote from and see what people are saying about them.

You can have a look at reviews left on Google, Trustpilot, or other social media channels to get a good idea of people’s experiences with them.

3. Tech-savvy

Understanding what technology potential conveyancers use will also help you choose. For example, do they insist that all documents are posted to their office and send you updates the same way? If they do, then consider whether that’s how you’d like to proceed with your purchase or sale.

Increasingly, more and more firms are embracing technology to streamline the entire process of buying or selling a home. Unfortunately, some firms are still a little hesitant to embrace technology. If this is something you’d prefer from your chosen conveyancer, you may wish to ask:


- Do they use electronic ID checks, or will you need to post original documents like passports to them?
- Do they use electronic checks to establish how you are funding your purchase, or do they ask you to send paper bank statements?
- Have they got a customer portal where you can see exactly what is happening on your transaction?
- Do they send automated updates when milestones are met, or there are documents you need to sign.

A tech-savvy conveyancing firm will help keep your transaction moving as efficiently as possible, and give you more visibility over its progress.

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4. Clear pricing

Let’s be honest, price matters when it comes to choosing a conveyancer.

When you’re requesting quotes from multiple firms, make sure that they are like for like and don’t include hidden extras. Some conveyancers don’t include costs such as VAT. If you are considering “No Move, No Fee” then check this carefully.

The Legal Ombudsman has reported that this is often not the case, despite what the client expected. Take a little extra time to ensure your conveyancers are being up-front with you, and if you feel that they aren’t, it’s your right to choose a more clear and transparent firm to go with.

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5. Customer-focussed

Ask your conveyancer how many other cases they are working on. Some conveyancers will manage over a hundred transactions at once, without warning clients that progress on their sale or purchase may be slow. Some firms are able to provide cheap quotes by over-loading their conveyancers, and using less-qualified assistants to handle transactions instead.

The reason that many conveyancing firms have poor communication, is due to the amount of customers they are handling at one time. It’s important to choose a conveyancer that values their staff, as well as their customers, and won’t overwork them to improve their bottom line.

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6. Accredited

When you are choosing a conveyancer for your purchase, it’s important to check your conveyancer is on your mortgage lender’s panel.

- Mortgage lenders will only deal with certain conveyancers and solicitors (e.g., those that are on their panel)
- If you do not use a conveyancer or a solicitor on their panel, you will usually have to pay for the bank’s representation fees. This is typically around £200, but varies from bank to bank.
- Ask your conveyancer or solicitor which panels they are on, and let them know which lender you are considering for your mortgage.

You should also check to make sure your conveyancer is properly regulated by the CLC, or if they are a property lawyer, that they are regulated by the SRA as well.

Choosing a conveyancer: what else you should know

Location

Many people think they need to choose a conveyancer that is close to them. Your conveyancer does not need to be local to you or your new property to be able to provide you conveyancing services. In fact, depending on where you live, then some local firms could be more expensive – in London and the South East for example.

As long as they are capable of representing you in the appropriate part of the UK (Scotland has a different buying process, and both Scotland and Wales have different Stamp Duty Laws) you do not need a local conveyancer. There are far more important things to consider, and given that these days, the conveyancing process can be done online, there’s really no obligation to go with a local solicitor.

Cost

It is a good idea to shop around for quotes before making a decision, but choosing the cheapest conveyancer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best value. The Legal Ombudsman said:

“While it’s a good idea to get quotes, remember that buying a house is in all likelihood the biggest financial outlay you’ll have in your life. By all means make sure that you’ve got a competitive quote, but don’t become consumed with getting the cheapest.”

Ask yourself: how is a firm able to offer the cheapest rates? What element of service has been reduced to enable them to charge so little for such an important service?

At Eden we pride ourselves on providing a quality service while remaining competitive on price. Our bespoke online platform gives us the ability to work on your transaction efficiently and keep you updated at each step, without compromising on quality.

 

Reputation

Before instructing a conveyancer, research their track record, and how other people have felt about their service. Although many services include testimonials on their site, these can be cherry picked to give the best impression to potential customers.

Check out third-party sites like Trustpilot and Google reviews to see the experience that other buyers and sellers have had with the conveyancing service.

Recommendations from family and friends are great. However, if it is an estate agent making the recommendation, then make sure you know if they are basing it on the quality of the conveyancer being recommended. Some conveyancers offer estate agents cash bonuses to refer their clients to them, while there may be other services which are better-suited to the person’s needs.

Remember, you are free to choose. An estate agent is not allowed to tell you that your offer won’t be accepted if you don’t use their conveyancer or their mortgage broker.

Frequently asked questions

What are the key qualities to look for in a conveyancer?

You’ll want to look for experience handling residential property transactions (of course), strong communication, attention to detail, proper licensing and insurance, positive reputation and client reviews, clear fees, and accessibility throughout the whole process. An ideal conveyancer be there to support you while ensuring no key legal requirements are missed.

How do I choose the right conveyancer?

Choosing the right conveyancer is crucial, as you need someone trustworthy with the necessary expertise and qualities. Request quotes from multiple conveyancers to compare fees and services. During initial consultations, evaluate their communication skills, professionalism, and whether you feel at ease working with them.

Ultimately, judging them on price isn’t always the best strategy, choose a conveyancer who makes you feel comfortable and confident.

How much will conveyancing cost?

You can expect to pay between £800 - £2,000 for your conveyancing fees. Although this is typical pricing, the exact amount varies on which conveyancer you choose and your property transaction.

How long does conveyancing take?

Conveyancing can take anywhere from 12 – 24 weeks typically. But keep in mind that your journey could be shorter or longer than this. There are a lot of moving pieces that affect the conveyancing timeline.

When do I need to hire a conveyancer?

You should hire a conveyancer as soon as your offer on a property has been accepted, or when you accept an offer on your property sale. Engaging a conveyancer as early as possible means your transaction can be moved along sooner, this helps to prevent delays and ensure a smooth journey.

Frequently asked questions

How long does new build conveyancing take?

The duration of the new build conveyancing process typically takes around 8-12 weeks from start to finish. However, this can vary considerably based on several factors:

Shorter timelines:

  • If the property is already built and ready to complete
  • If you are a cash buyer with no mortgage
  • If there is no onward chain of transactions

Longer timelines:

  • If the new build is still under construction
  • If you hit delays or revisions from the developer
  • If you are part of a chain of sales and purchases
  • If any issues arise during conveyancing searches

Developers often stipulate a tight timeframe of around 28 days from reservation to exchange of contracts. But this is often an ambitious goal.

What happens if my new build is delayed?

Depending on how long your new build is delayed by your conveyancer may need to take steps such as requesting a mortgage offer extension from your lender, renegotiating the contract exchange date with the developer, and potentially re-doing any expired legal work.

Significant delays may also require rescheduling your removal plans and temporary accommodations.

Is new-build conveyancing more difficult?

Yes, new-build conveyancing is generally more complex compared to purchasing an existing property.

This is because conveyancers must conduct additional checks on planning permissions, building regulations, and the full development title deeds.

They’ll also need to review special construction warranties and incentives offered by developers.

Dealing with developers rather than individual sellers can mean less flexibility.

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Choosing your conveyancer: final thoughts

At Eden, we believe that the conveyancing process should be clear and transparent, from beginning to end. With our team of experienced property lawyers, we’ve combined our model of sound, honest legal advice, with innovative tech solutions to deliver a conveyancing service that’s simple and hassle-free.

With a 24/7 online platform, where you can check the progress of your purchase or sale, as well as multiple channels to contact your dedicated conveyancer, we’re excited to deliver a supportive, professional experience every step of the way.

If you’d like to learn more about Eden and everything we offer, feel free to check out our service page. And if you’d like to get an instant quote for your sale or purchase, we’ll be happy to get you started.

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