Buying a property can be a minefield, and a good solicitor or conveyancer is worth their weight in gold. But are the two terms interchangeable? Licensed conveyancers and solicitors are both able to undertake the legal work involved in buying and selling your house, but there are some important differences between the two that you need to be aware of.
Conveyancer or solicitor – what’s the difference?
• A solicitor must be registered with the Law Society and may also advise clients on a range of additional legal issues. Conveyancing solicitors are also covered by the CQS (Conveyancing Quality Scheme).
• A licensed conveyancer will be regulated by the CLC (Council of Licensed Conveyancers) and is qualified to act in all areas of property law.
Is there a practical difference?
Not really. Because both are carrying out the legal work involved in buying and selling a property, both work for the same types of clients and carry out the same duties.
So is a conveyancer a lawyer?
Despite the similarities, there are some fundamental differences between a conveyancer and a solicitor that can help you make an informed choice about which one is right for you.
Perhaps the most obvious difference is that a conveyancer may work for both the buyer and the seller in a transaction, and frequently does.
If a solicitor receives any referral fees from a referring or marketing agency then they must be disclosed. A conveyancer is not under the same legal obligation.
A qualified solicitor will generally have completed a degree, followed by 4 years of further training before being allowed to practice. A conveyancer tends to train and pass exams while employed in the conveyancing sector. Solicitors who specialise in conveyancing often convert to becoming licensed conveyancers.
Conveyancer or solicitor – which is right for me?
Solicitors usually have a wider knowledge of different aspects of the law which can be useful if you’re making a potentially complicated purchase as they can bring other areas of expertise to the table. However, if the purchase is expected to be straightforward, using a conveyancer will generally save you money. Whichever you choose, your property transaction will be in safe hands.
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