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If you are selling your home, even if you find your own buyer, you will need a solicitor to carry out the legal work involved. This page explains how to go about getting a solicitor, what they do and what you can do if you aren't happy with the service you receive.

What do I need a solicitor for?

Your solicitor can help you prepare a home report and find a buyer. However, their main responsibility is to carry out all the legal work involved in selling your home. This includes:

  • receiving offers on the property and accepting the offer you choose
  • negotiating the sale with the buyer's solicitor
  • checking the title deeds (the documents that prove that the property belongs to you) and checking the deed confirming the change of ownership
  • checking that you are legally entitled to sell the property
  • receiving payment for the property from the buyer and paying this either to you or to your mortgage lender.

If you are buying a new home at the same time, your solicitor can also deal with the conveyancing for this. This will help keep down costs. Read the page on finding a solicitor in the buying a home section to find out more.

Can anyone else do this for me?

You may also be able to use an independent qualified conveyancer: contact the Law Society of Scotland to get a list of conveyancers.

How do I find a solicitor?

Many people find a solicitor through personal recommendations from friends and family. You can also find solicitors listed at the Law Society of Scotland website and in the Yellow Pages. Read the page on solicitors to find out more about what solicitors do and how they can help you.

What should I ask a solicitor?

A solicitor is offering a service, just like a bank, an insurance broker or a travel agent, so shop around before making a decision. Make sure you find out:

  • how much they charge for the legal work involved in selling a home - there are no set rules for this so charges can differ widely
  • whether they charge a fixed fee or whether their fee depends on how much work they have to do
  • what the fee includes, for example, does it cover:
    • a valuation of your property before it goes on the market
    • costs for advertising your property
    • a 'for sale' board
    • a charge for showing people around the property (although you may wish to do this yourself)
    • VAT.

What if I'm not happy with my solicitor?

If you aren't happy with the service you've received from your solicitor, there are things you can do to complain.

What if my solicitor's bill is too high?

If you still think the bill is too high, you may be able to challenge it. The page on complaining about a solicitor explains how.

What if they didn't carry out my instructions properly?

This may be the case if, for example:

  • your solicitor didn't accept an offer on time
  • they failed to add conditions to the sale as you had requested.

Contact your solicitor immediately if you think they aren't following your instructions, as it may not be too late to put the situation right. Read the page on complaining about a solicitor to find out more.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
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