The property market can be overwhelming, filled with jargon and complicated processes guaranteed to befuddle first-time buyers and seasoned veterans alike. Our detailed Property Buying Guide aims to demystify the industry to give you the tools to confidently source and purchase your next dream home (and even save some money, too).
Here, we’ll discuss finding the right solicitor for you. We’ll explore why a solicitor is essential in the home buying process, their role, how they’re likely to quote for their services and where to find the perfect professional to make buying a breeze
Why Is a Solicitor Important in the Home Buying Process?
So, you’ve found your dream home – time to make it yours. To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to instruct a professional solicitor or licensed conveyancer before submitting an offer for a property you like.
A solicitor will handle all the legal aspects of purchasing a property on your behalf, formally transferring ownership from the seller to you. Your solicitor will also be responsible for submitting the offer, negotiating the price and conditions, reviewing the contract, ensuring the home is suitable and moving the Title and funds.
While instructing a solicitor during the property purchase process is not legally required, it is highly recommended. An expert solicitor will understand the local market inside and out, giving you access to their invaluable knowledge and support. At the same time, their years of experience will enable them to swiftly deal with any complications that should arise during the process – saving you precious time (and money) in the long run. Moreover, your solicitor can typically secure a lower price for the property than if you attempted to negotiate with the seller or their agent alone.
Should You Choose a Solicitor or Conveyancer?
Conveyancing is integral to the home-buying process and involves legally transferring home ownership from the seller to the buyer. Conveyancing is performed by either a chartered conveyancer or a solicitor. While these positions are very different, their roles in the property-buying process are essentially the same, meaning you can instruct one or the other.
If you’re unsure whether to choose a solicitor or conveyancer, consider that solicitors are also qualified lawyers and can offer a full suite of legal services alongside conveyancing, while licensed conveyancers are specialised in property but cannot help with complex legal issues. Essentially, it depends on what you think you’ll need in the property purchasing process. A solicitor may be the most useful if you’re a first-time buyer.
When Does a Solicitor Get Involved?
It’s recommended that you instruct a solicitor as soon as you’re serious about buying a property, as they can offer invaluable advice to make the journey smoother, especially if you’re new to the property-buying process. Thankfully, most solicitors work on a fixed-fee basis, meaning the time you instruct one rarely affects the cost.
What Does a Solicitor Do?
- Offers legal advice throughout the process to help you make the best decisions based on your situation.
- Sets up the mortgage so you know the size of your budget.
- Submits a note of interest to properties.
- Carries out local council searches to ensure there are no issues with the property you’re interested in buying.
- Make a formal offer to buy on your behalf.
- Acts as a line of communication between you and the seller or seller’s representation.
- Handles the essential contracts related to the sale, including formalising the agreement and preparing the paperwork.
- Transfers the funds and organises a move-in date.
- Registers the new ownership with The Land Registry Scotland and pays Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) where applicable.
What Will a Solicitor Quote For?
The fees you pay your solicitor, alongside the charge for their services, will also include other essential costs associated with buying a home in Scotland. You should expect to pay solicitors fees and VAT as well as a number of governmental charges, including LBTT, Land Registry fees (where applicable) and other charges depending on the property you’re buying and your specific situation (for example, whether you’re buying the home with a mortgage). A solicitor’s quote will include a breakdown of all the charges involved, so you’ll be fully clued up on what you’re paying for before you agree.
It’s worth noting, however, that sometimes unexpected complications can crop up during the purchase that are non-standard, for example, if the solicitor has to raise legal action against the seller for breaching the contract. In cases like this, the price may vary from the quote but know that the solicitor will never carry out additional, out-of-scope work unless you have first agreed to it.
How to Find a Solicitor
To find the right solicitor for you, approach local firms to chat with an agent directly or speak to family and friends to see if they can recommend someone. Regional forums and online groups can also be great resources, so it’s worth Googling the most popular solicitor estate agents in your area. Look for independent review sites, like Trustpilot, to see what other customers experiences have been like. Before settling on a firm, however, speak to them about their services and get an estimate for their property-buying charges, as quotes between firms may differ.
We also recommend that you search for a solicitor experienced in property purchases so they can guide you through the process and (hopefully) secure you a great price. At MOV8, our dedicated New Client Team and Conveyancing Department negotiate the price of hundreds of homes per year for our clients and we are rated 5 stars on Trustpilot with over 1,900 independent customer reviews – why not get in touch with our friendly, experienced agents today and see what we can do for you?
So, You’ve Found the Right Solicitor for You. What’s Next?
If you’ve found the perfect professional to guide you through the buying process, it’s time to get your finances in order and ensure you can afford that dream home. Read the next page in our Detailed Property Buying Guide for everything you need to know about mortgages, as well as our top tips on sorting out your financial health.