A breif description of conveyancing
Conveyancing is the legal process behind moving house. Traditionally in ages past, this was done by taking the deeds of the property and writing a conveyance to transfer (or convey) the ownership to the new owner. The process was called Conveyancing, and the Solicitors who did the work were called Conveyancers.
Originally you had to have the deeds to the property to prove your ownership, along with a very long trail of conveyances showing each time the property was transferred so you could prove that the person who you bought the property from was entitled to sell it to you in an unbroken line back to the proven owners.
Things have moved on in sucessive updates to the law, notably with the introduction of Her Majesties Land Registry in 1862 which as the name suggests is a register of who owns what land. This register was initially voluntery but gained increasing use until the majority of properties were recorded in the 1990's, at which point it became compulsory for all property transfers to be registered at the Land Registry.
These days the property ownership is simply registered at the Land Registry and updated online.
This leads to some people deciding that they can dispense with legal advice and do their own conveyancing. It is legal for you to do your own conveyancing without competent legal representation and you may see this view advocated by a handful of people on web forums. It is not legal for you to pay a mate "who knows about conveyancing" to do your conveyancing for you as doing so is a criminal offense. Stupidity however, is not illegal and you may chose to do your own conveyancing if you wish to do so.
What many of the DIY conveyancers are missing is that you will notice that trained, qualified professionals with 40 years experiance in the property field won't do their own conveyancing. If they won't, why would you?
It is generally a truism that most people in posession of the same information will make the same decision. What DIY Conveyancers are missing is the fact that conveyancing is not simply handing over the money to the seller and completing a few documents. The skilled part in the conveyancing process is essentially recognising, reporting and resolving all of the near arcane and incomprehensible pitfalls that can befall the untrained or unwary. One such example of an issue is not actually legally having right of way across the land leading from a publicly owned road to your property. Such issues can rather negatively effect the price you could sell your property for which could leave you with a severely devalued property that you can not later sell, though there are an almost endless number of ways you inproperly complete a conveyancing transaction which generally only become apparent later down the line when the owner of the land you are crossing denies you access and enforces this with a fence.
Should this happen, and you have used a law firm then you just ring them and complain about the problem and they are liable to fix it. If they can't, they call their insurer who will ultimately have to put matters right and you will not be financially out of pocket. If you do it yourself, then your responsible.