Conveyancing is the legal process of buying or selling a home. Technically, anybody can carry out conveyancing work, but in practice, it is best to get a qualified professional to oversee it for you. Conveyancing can be a somewhat confounding process for those of us unfamiliar with it and failure to carry it out properly could lead to costly mistakes and delays. But what qualifications are needed to become a conveyancer?
Are all conveyancers solicitors?
Conveyancing work is usually carried out by two different types of conveyancers – a conveyancing solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.
Conveyancing solicitors are qualified solicitors, meaning they are trained in all aspects of law but specialise in property. They are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and are usually members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
Licensed conveyancers are trained only in property law and are legal professionals rather than solicitors. They can handle most standard property transactions. Licensed conveyancers are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and need to obtain a licence to practice.
It is your choice as to whether you instruct a licensed conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor, although some mortgage lenders insist on the latter. Employing a conveyancing solicitor tends to be more expensive than a licensed conveyancer, although they can handle any complex legal issues that may arise.
How do you become a licensed conveyancer?
To work as a conveyancer, it is essential to have a licence. To obtain a licence through the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, there are two qualifications needed first. You must have earned a Level 4 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice and a Level 6 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice. You must also have completed 1,200 hours of supervised practical experience. To become qualified as a licensed conveyancer, it is usually beneficial to have some kind of legal background or experience within the property sector.
If you are already a qualified solicitor, you do not need to sit these exams and simply need to apply to the CLC for a licence to practice.
What does a conveyancer do?
A qualified and accredited conveyancer such as those at Sam Conveyancing will perform all the legal and administrative roles involved in a property transaction. This includes establishing whether a property is leasehold or freehold, organising local searches, filling out the necessary legal paperwork and documents, raising queries and determining what is included in the sale. It also includes drawing up or receiving contracts, receiving payment of the deposit, organising exchange and completion before collecting outstanding payments.
After completion, the conveyancer will pay stamp duty on your behalf, check documents have been sent to the Land Registry and send deeds to your mortgage provider. It is important to note that a conveyancer is not responsible for organising a home buyers survey. If one is desired, this needs to be arranged by the buyer. A simple internet search, for example, ‘home buyers survey Watford,’ should help you to organise this.
What skills does a conveyancer need?
In addition to the requisite qualifications, a conveyancer needs good communication skills, the ability to build good relationships with clients and excellent organisational skills.