Do I need a solicitor to buy a house?

illustration of Do I need a solicitor to buy a house?

However you’re buying your home, you’ll need a solicitor to purchase a property. Your solicitor - also known as a conveyancer - handles the mortgage transaction on your behalf, and protects you legally during the house-buying process. It can be confusing if you’re not sure what’s involved. In this Guide, we’ll explain all there is to know about using a solicitor for a mortgage. 

Why do I need a solicitor to buy a house?

In short, when large amounts of money are exchanged, you need a professional to handle the transaction on your behalf. Your home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so you’ll need some help and professional support. 

Your solicitor (also referred to as a conveyancer) acts as your representative, carries out various searches on the property to find out things like planned developments in the area, local authority searches and other research to make sure everything’s peachy before you buy.

What’s the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?

In the context of your mortgage, there’s no difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer - they’ll do the same thing. Conveyancing is the specific part of law that deals with buying and selling homes. Conveyancers are property specialists that don’t deal with other complex legal issues, while solicitors can offer a full range of legal services.

Why do I need a solicitor as well as a mortgage broker?

Brokers hold your hand throughout the mortgage process, but they can’t do the legal paperwork. Property purchases are big and complex transactions, which is why they need to be handled by dedicated legal professionals.

Do I need a solicitor if I’m buying cash?

Yep, even if you’re a cash buyer, you’ll still need to instruct a conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the house sale. They’ll also need to liaise with the seller’s solicitor. 

Do I need a solicitor to buy my council house?

Yes, you’ll need a solicitor if you’re buying your council home through the government's Right to Buy scheme.

What does a conveyancer do?

When you instruct a conveyancer, they’ll get to work on your behalf sorting the legal side of your property purchase. But what does that actually involve? 

Your mortgage solicitor's role is to:

  1. Examine the draft contract and supporting documents, and raise any queries with the seller’s solicitor

  2. Carry out ‘property searches’ to find out things like planned construction works, any previous issues with the property and surrounding areas, checking flood risks, and looking at the title deeds.

  3. Go through the conditions of your mortgage 

  4. Agree with the seller’s solicitors what fixtures and fittings that will be included in the sale

  5. Sort the exchange of legal contracts

  6. Handle the mortgage deposit on your behalf

  7. Handle the mortgage funds and pay the seller’s solicitors on your behalf

  8. Pay any stamp duty owed on your behalf 

  9. Notify the Land Registry of the property’s change in ownership

  10. Transfer the deeds into your name

How much does a conveyancer cost?

Mortgage solicitor fees can vary depending on who you go to and how tricky your purchase is, but an average conveyancing fee in the UK starts from around £1,000. You’re paying for the solicitor’s time and for third party services such as Land Registry fees. 

Can you add solicitor fees to a mortgage in the UK?

No, you’ll need to pay your mortgage solicitor’s fees separately from your mortgage. Some mortgage companies will allow you to add any of their own fees to your mortgage, but things like conveyancing fees and building surveys will need to be paid separately. See the costs involved when buying a house.

How do I find a mortgage solicitor?

It can be hard to know where to start finding a mortgage solicitor. When you work with Haysto, you get a dedicated mortgage team who’ll help you manage the entire process. Our partnership with eConveyancer makes the legal stuff easier:

  • We’ll find and compare mortgage solicitor fees for you to take your pick. They’ll all have experience working with your mortgage lender.

  • Get started straight away - no waiting around for paperwork to arrive.

  • Track your progress and speak to your solicitor through the secure digital platform.

  • Get real-time updates and access any time on any device.

  • Sign and verify documents digitally - it’s quicker, easier and more secure.

Make an enquiry to get started.


Our Mortgage Experts are fully-qualified with experience in bad credit, self-employed and complex mortgages. They have a proven track record of getting mortgages for people who’ve been rejected elsewhere.

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