Estate Agents Insight | Solicitors Fees Explained

Everything You Need To Know About Conveyancing Solicitors & Searches

As one of Wigan’s best estate agents we often get asked about solicitors fees, especially from buyers that are confused as to what they’re actually paying for. What do conveyancing solicitors do? Where do you find a good solicitor? What are the searches for? And, the one we get asked the most; Do I actually need a solicitor to sell my house?

Here’s everything you need to know about conveyancing solicitors and searches…

Do I Need A Solicitor To Sell My Home?

In most cases you will need a solicitor to sell your home. Whilst it’s perfectly plausible to sell your home and doing all the legal work yourself, it often brings major headaches, especially if you’re a novice when it comes to conveyances. It may seem tempting to save a bit of money by cutting out solicitors from the buying and selling process but, more often than not, the costs quickly mount up anyway, as well as delays which are inevitable as you find your way around the process.

Remember, if you prepare all the legal work for your home sale you could be wholly responsible for any long term implications or discrepancies, potentially leaving you liable to legal action at a later date, should anything go wrong. As well as this, it’s worth keeping in mind that plenty of banks and mortgage lenders will insist on proper solicitors, to protect their assets along the way.

All in all, if you’re wondering whether you actually do need a solicitor to sell your home, the long answer is no, but the short answer is most definitely yes! What they cost is far outweighed by the hassle and stress they take away, as well as the peace of mind that your property has been sold fairly and legally.

Conveyancing Solicitors Services

It can be frustrating when buying or selling having to part with extra cash for a conveyancing solicitor, especially if you’re not sure what they actually do!

  • The transfer of deeds
  • Title deeds
  • The sale agreement
  • Deal with buyer enquiries
  • The property information form
  • The draft contract of sale
  • Contract signing
  • The exchange of contracts
  • They will receive the deposit
  • Manage the money transfer

How Long Does Conveyancing Usually Take?

Usually, the conveyancing process takes around 12 weeks, which includes drawing up contracts and searches, however, this can be much shorter (or longer) depending upon the complexity of the sale, the outcome of searches and, of course, the competency of your solicitor!

How To Choose A Conveyancing Solicitor

Once you have decided to sell your home it’s a good idea to find your solicitor in advance, even if you don’t need them straight away, as much preparation you can do in advance should help the sale run smoothly. But how do you find a conveyancing solicitor?

Ask Your Estate Agent For Recommendations

Your estate agent will be able to recommend conveyancing solicitors, which in most cases, they’ll receive a referral fee for. Don’t be put off by that fact though; your estate agent has a vested interest in the completion of your sale, so they’ll only recommend competent people who can get the deal done quickly and professionally.

Ask Family & Friends

Family and friends will always give you straight forward, honest advice. If you have any family or friends that have recently moved house, ask them if they would recommend their conveyancing solicitor, as well as the time it took for their sale to complete.

It can be tempting to use a friend or acquaintance for conveyancing if you know someone, but keep in mind that you’ll want to maintain a professional relationship.

Search Online

These days, there’s a wealth of information about solicitors online, with Google, TrustPilot and Trustist offering countless options, with real reviews. If you’re thinking of finding a conveyancing solicitor online, remember; cheapest doesn’t always mean the best! Be sure to check reviews thoroughly, especially recent ones, paying attention to the time completion usually takes.

At Open House Wigan we’d say steer clear of online comparison sites (yes, they have them for conveyancing solicitors too!), which will only compete on price, not service. Usually, if the cost seems too good to be true, you’ll end up losing out on professionalism and service.


Before your house sale or purchase can go ahead there are a number of different ‘Searches’ which need to be carried out. These are usually common place and simply a formality, but in rare cases they could delay a sale or prevent it altogether depending upon the severity of findings. Searches are carried out by solicitors, working alongside local authorities and usually include:

Local Authority Search (LAS)

The local authority search checks information on transport schemes, including road networks as well as planning works within the local area.

Planning Search

Planning searches look into existing planning permission or applications within a radius of 250 metres of the property.

Drainage & Water Search

The drainage and water search looks into existing drainage systems in the area and around the property, determining whether they are a risk to your property in the future.

Environmental Search

Environmental searches investigate flood risks, subsidence issues and previous land use within a 500 metre radius of the property.

Flood Risk Search

As well as the environmental search, a further floor risk search may be undertaken if your property, or the property your looking to buy are close to any substantial body of water. These include rivers, reservoirs, lakes and coastlines, determining how at risk the property could be from future flooding.

Coal Mining Searches

Coal mining and mining searches look for disused tunnels which may run underneath a property, causing a subsidence risk. These aren’t always carried out, but can be common in former mining areas, which is especially true for Wigan!

Chancel Repair Search

The chancel repair search is an often unknown search which looks at your liability for contributions towards church repairs with a local parish. If you are liable for contributions, should local church repairs be required, you can often take out insurance cover, just in case.

Land Registry Search

This search looks at the parties involved in selling the property, to determine whether they are legally allowed to sell and therefore whether the property is safe to buy. This search includes checking whether a selling owns the property and whether they have ever filed for bankruptcy.

HS2 Protests
HS2 Routes could devastate properties, it’s important to check before you buy whether your next property will be affected.

HS2 Search

The newest search in conveyancing is the HS2 search which checks whether the property you’re looking to buy would be affected by planned routes. These include over 25 destinations, with an estimated 30 million people affected, so there’s a high chance you’ll need this search.

How Long Do Searches Usually Take?

On average, searches usually take two weeks, but, as always, this is subject to change, depending upon the complexity of the searches, whether anything is discovered and how busy local council offices are at the time. With this in mind, if you’re selling at busier times of the year, remember that searches will take a few extra days.

How To Speed Up The Conveyancing Process

Unfortunately there are elements of the conveyancing process that do require time, no matter how much you will them along. For instance, searches will always take at least two weeks, as local authorities perform the necessary checks and due diligence. There’s no getting around this.

That said, you can help the process run as smoothly as possible with a bit of advanced preparation, which, at the very least, will prevent any unnecessary delays when selling your home. Here’s a few ideas to ‘speed up’ the sale of your home:

  • Find your solicitor as soon as possible: There’s no need to wait until you have an offer on the table to begin your search. Finding the right solicitor could take a few days.
  • Get all your paperwork in hand: Make sure you find out any deeds and legal documents you may have and put them together in a folder. This can be handy for solicitors during conveyancing.
  • Work with your estate agent: Be as accommodating as you can with your agent, if they need anything extra from you, try and get back to them as quickly as possible. Remember, it’s in their interest to sell your home, so you’re both working towards the same goal.
  • Be transparent: If you think there are issues that will arise from searches, advise your solicitor as soon as possible. With forward planning they may be able to minimise any complications.
  • Be patient: Selling your home can be very frustrating, as you’re eager to get the deal done, but be patient. Maintain regular contact with estate agents and solicitors but do give them time to work effectively, the last thing you want is rushed legal work!

Are You Looking To Sell Your Home?

We hope our latest blog has helped clear up any confusion and misconceptions when it comes to conveyancing. We understand that the selling process always seems to take longer than it should, especially when you’re desperate to get into your new home, but, in most cases, it’s time well spent, making sure everything is legal and above board.

If you’re looking to sell your home, we offer a free, no obligation valuation with a no sale, no fee option and no VAT. With listings on the big three property portals, as well as being one of the first to list with Boomin we’re well placed to sell your home quickly and for the best possible price!

At the moment, the house market is very busy, with savings on stamp duty still available. Contact us today for your free valuation!


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