How to choose a conveyancing solicitor

Many people consider moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, with some ranking this life event as more stressful than having a child or going through a relationship breakup. So, it stands to reason that you’ll want to find ways to ensure your house sale or purchase goes as smoothly as possible. That’s where a good conveyancing solicitor can make a big difference.

Putting some time into researching and choosing a reputable, professional conveyancer early in the process (even before you’ve had an offer accepted) can save you a lot of headaches further down the line. A good conveyancer can be worth every penny, as they can proactively help you to speed up your house transaction, minimise your stress levels and potentially save you money in the long run.

But just what are the important factors to consider when choosing a conveyancing solicitor?

Is there a difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?

When you’re buying or selling your house, you’ll need someone to handle all the searches and legal agreements during the transaction. You have two choices:

  • A conveyancing solicitor/lawyer; or
  • A licensed conveyancer

But what’s the difference?

A conveyancing solicitor/lawyer is a qualified legal professional, who’ll have a broad knowledge across the full spectrum of the law, from family law to litigation. He or she may be a specialist in conveyancing but may also only deal with conveyancing on an occasional basis. Regardless of their specialism, conveyancing solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

A licensed conveyancer is also a legal professional, but they are only qualified to practise property law. He or she will be regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).

Both a conveyancing solicitor and a licensed conveyancer are qualified to help you in your house sale or purchase and there should be little difference in their service for most conveyancing transactions. As a conveyancing solicitor is a qualified lawyer across many areas of law, they may be more expensive than a licensed conveyancer.

If your transaction is on the more complex side, a licensed conveyancer may not be able to fully support you. For example, if the house you’re purchasing is subject to a boundary dispute or is being sold because of a divorce or death, you’ll likely need to engage a conveyancing solicitor to deal with any issues.

How to find a conveyancing solicitor

Always do your own research to find a suitable conveyancing solicitor for your needs. Nowadays, the information is literally at your fingertips and a quick “Google” search will turn up hundreds of results. So, how best to sort through the noise?

What should I consider?

There’s more to picking a conveyancing solicitor than just the price. Conveyancing transactions can be lengthy and sometimes complicated, with some 1 in 3 house sales falling through as of 2021. To ensure your house sale or purchase is completed efficiently, you’ll need a trustworthy and reliable conveyancer – that won’t always be the cheapest conveyancer!

Mortgage Lender’s Panel

If you’re buying a property with a mortgage, then you’ll need to make sure that your conveyancer is a member of your mortgage lender’s approved solicitor panel before you instruct them.

Your conveyancer will need to complete some due diligence on behalf of the mortgage lender, which confirms to the mortgage lender that the property is suitable to secure the loan.

If your conveyancer is not a member of your mortgage lender’s approved panel, then they will not be permitted to carry out this work and instead will need to outsource it to a conveyancer who is on the panel. This can add unnecessary delays to your house purchase, as well as expense.

Ask family and friends for recommendations

Nothing beats an honest recommendation from someone who’s used your potential conveyancer. Ask for a recommendation from any friends or family members who have recently bought or sold a property. This will give you an idea about what it’s like to work with the conveyancer, including its service levels and communication.


A useful backup to a personal recommendation for a conveyancer is customer reviews. Look at reviews on Google or Trustpilot, or even social media sites, to see what customers are saying about your prospective conveyancer. Reviews often give you a good insight into how a conveyancer operates in practice, behind the glitzy website and brochure.


Do some due diligence on your potential conveyancer to ensure that it’s a professional firm. Conveyancing solicitors should be registered with the Quality Conveyancing Scheme run by the SRA, while licensed conveyancers should be registered with the CLC.


It would be remiss of you not to consider the price at all, and you should get a range of quotes to compare conveyancers before making your decision. A conveyancing quote is typically made up of two parts:

  • A basic fee; and
  • Disbursements

The basic fee covers the legal fees to process your house sale or purchase. Disbursements are the payments that the conveyancer will make on your behalf (and then charge back to you) and range from Local Authority Searches to indemnity insurance policies.

Get a full, itemised breakdown of the costs in your quote so you can compare like-for-like between conveyancers. Take care to check for hidden items and always make sure you read the fine print.

A practical way of keeping your costs to a minimum is to engage a conveyancing solicitor on a “no sale, no fee” (AKA a “no move, no fee”) basis. Many solicitors offer this payment option for their services, which essentially means that if the sale or purchase falls through, you won’t incur any legal fees (minus any disbursements that have already been paid).


Perhaps one of the most critical factors to consider (and of paramount importance for quality service) is communication. There’s nothing more frustrating than being left in the dark about how your house sale or purchase is progressing.

Little things can make a big difference to your experience, such as having a dedicated point of contact.

Compare levels of service

Service levels vary across conveyancers and only you will know what your priorities are, so it’s worth spending some time to find a conveyancer that fits the bill.

Is it beneficial to use a local firm?

Traditionally, there was a belief that you needed to use a local firm with knowledge of the local property market. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

During a typical property transaction, there’s no real need for you to meet with your solicitor in person. All of the paperwork can be managed remotely, which means that the pool of conveyancing solicitors is now much wider, and you can shop around for the right service at the right price for you.

If your transaction is more complicated, such as a property with boundary issues, then you may find it beneficial to use a firm that’s local to the property as it’s more practical for them to visit your property without incurring additional costs to you.

Contact Us

Buying or selling a property can be both exciting and stressful. Finding a good conveyancing solicitor to partner with you throughout the process can help to speed things up and give you confidence that all the necessary steps are taken. Get in touch with our friendly property team at Waldrons for a dedicated property expert, who can help take the headache out of moving.

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Abigail Gray who is an Associate Solicitor