Do I Need a Solicitor to Buy a House?
Buying a house is probably the largest personal purchase you will ever make, and it is also one of the most complex, with the greatest risk should you get it wrong.
UK land law is complicated, there are many pitfalls when it comes to checking out the legalities of the purchase: drawing up contracts, liaising with the seller and their solicitors, dealing with local authority, environment, water and drainage searches; checking that the property is as per the land registry, restrictive covenants, potential issues with rights of way, and simply ensuring that you getting what you are paying for when it comes to the property, and fixtures and fittings.
And things can be even more complicated when buying leasehold property - dealing with lease terms, service agreements, and the potential need to negotiate lease extensions (which is why fees for leasehold conveyancing are generally more than for buying freehold property).
There is no statutory reason why you should use a solicitor, but without real knowledge and experience of the legalities you'd be quite mad to try to do it yourself!
Given the complexity of process, solicitors fees are surprisingly reasonable, particularly when considered in relation to the value of the property, and the risks should things not be done correctly.
Solicitor vs Conveyancer
It should be mentioned in the context of this article, the term solicitor can be viewed as interchangeable with Licensed Conveyancer. Licensed Conveyancers are legal specialists exclusively dealing with property transactions, and will fulfill exactly the same role as a solicitor. Indeed many solicitors' firms will employ Licensed Conveyancers to undertake this work on their behalf.