Buying and selling
England and Wales

Understand the legal process of moving home with our step-by-step guide below - or get a free quote for your conveyancing from our preferred partner.

Find a solicitor

Once you’ve accepted an offer on your property and found a new place to move to, you’ll need to find a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out the legal work for you.

To help your move run smoothly, it’s essential to use a reliable, experienced professional who won’t let you down. Getting recommendations from friends and family, reading reviews online, and having an initial chat with prospective firms are all good ways of finding a solicitor.

Below, we explain the main factors you should consider when choosing the best conveyancer for you.

Choosing a good solicitor

Before instructing a solicitor or conveyancer, there are some key things to bear in mind:

  1. Solicitor or conveyancer?

    Solicitors are qualified lawyers who can offer a wide range of legal services. If you choose to use a solicitor, make sure they have plenty of experience (and preferably specialise) in property law.

    Licensed conveyancers only offer conveyancer and/or probate services but specialise in property law.

  2. How much should I pay for a good solicitor?

    When you’re moving home, you’ll be able to use the same conveyancer for both the sale of your current house and the purchase of your new one.

    In this situation, conveyancing typically costs between £500 and £2,500. However, fees can vary depending on a number of factors including the firm you choose, the type and price of property you’re buying and where it’s situated.

    It’s important to remember that cheapest is not always best: more experienced practitioners with good reputations will often cost a bit more. Moving home is likely to be one of the biggest financial transactions you ever make, so paying a little extra for a decent, reputable conveyancer or solicitor is generally money well spent.

    You can find solicitors advertising fees as low as £200, but be wary as they will often carry hidden extra charges which mean you could end up paying more in the long run. Look for one who offers a fixed, upfront fee to avoid costs mounting unexpectedly throughout the process.

    For extra security, choose a firm offering a ‘no-move, no-fee’ arrangement, which means you won’t pay your conveyancing fees if your move falls through. It's important to be aware, though, that any searches that have been carried out or other disbursements may still have to be paid for.

  1. Do I need a local solicitor?

    There is a popular belief that choosing a local solicitor or conveyancer will make it quicker and easier to iron out problems and hand over documents, but it’s much more important to opt for someone who’s efficient, communicative, and has the capacity to deal with your purchase. If you use a conveyancer based in a different area, documents can be posted or, sometimes, scanned and emailed.

  2. Do I want a dedicated case handler?

    Having a consistent point of contact throughout the conveyancing journey can be a godsend when it comes to conveyancing. You won’t have to spend time explaining things multiple times to different people and, if you do have a query, you’ll know exactly who to speak to.

    We’d recommend looking for a firm that promises a dedicated solicitor to handle your case from start to finish.

Dos and don'ts

Do:

  • Choose a conveyancer or solicitor offering fixed fees - this will help to keep costs under control.

  • Look for a 'no-move, no-fee' deal - this means if the purchase falls through, you won't have to pay your conveyancing fees. 

  • Be clear about costs from the start - use our conveyancing fees guide to help you.

Don't:

  • Assume you need to use a local firm - someone who is efficient and keeps in touch will do the job just as well.

  • Just choose the cheapest option - paying a little extra for an experienced conveyancer is money well spent.

  • Be fooled by extremely low quotes - there are likely to be hidden fees that will cost you more in the long run.

Related FAQs View all FAQS >

Usually, conveyancing is carried out by either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.

It is possible to do the conveyancing yourself, but it’s time consuming and risky if you're not an expert. Few people choose to undertake conveyancing themselves, and many mortgage lenders insist it be done by a qualified professional – as there is a lesser risk of things going wrong.

Solicitors are qualified lawyers who can offer a wide range of legal services. If you choose to use a solicitor, make sure they have plenty of experience (and preferably specialise) in property law.

Licensed conveyancers only offer conveyancing and/or probate services, but specialise in property law.

A freehold property is owned by you outright, together with the land it stands on. A leasehold property is ultimately owned by the landlord – or freeholder – but with ownership granted to the leaseholder for a specified time (normally 99 years for a standard flat).

If you’re buying or selling a leasehold property, the conveyancing process can take slightly longer as there will often be additional enquiries relating to the terms of the lease.

Find out more about the conveyancing process when buying a leasehold property.

What our customers think...

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Mrs H Scott – London

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You can request a call back from them once you're ready to move forward, or just use the quote for information - it's completely up to you. 

Jargon buster
  • Chain

    A property chain occurs when at least one vendor is selling their home to a buyer who also has property to sell and, as a result, there are a number of linked transactions depending on each other.

  • Conveyancer

    A conveyancer is a legal professional who specialises in property law and can carry out the legal side of buying or selling a property, remortgaging or extending a lease.

  • Searches

    Searches are formal legal enquiries submitted by a conveyancer to local councils, the Environment Agency, and coal or water authorities. They provide important information that could affect a property's value.

    They will show, for example, whether or not the road serving a property is a publicly adopted highway, whether there are any mineshafts close by, and whether the property is subject to any planning enforcement notices.

  • Stamp duty

    Stamp duty, also known as stamp duty land tax (SDLT), is a tiered tax charged on residential properties in England and Wales with a purchase price of more than £125,000 (£40,000 for second homes and buy-to-let properties).

    Use our cost calculator to find out exactly how much stamp duty you'll have to pay.

  • Survey

    A survey is an inspection of the property by a surveyor who will record any defects or issues such as damp or subsidence.

    There are different levels of survey available, from a homebuyer's report to a full building survey.

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