Solicitor - Legal

Your solicitor (or lawyer) will generally always be involved during the sale and/or purchase of a property. Your role is to sell your own home without incurring a real estate fee, not to replace your solicitor. This step covers how much of a role they will play and what you’ll need to discuss.

Legal Definitions

The following are important definitions.

Solicitor or Lawyer

The correct term for someone dealing in property agreements and conveyancing is generally a solicitor rather than a lawyer.

Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Estate

This is the legal contract that binds the seller and purchaser to any terms and conditions agreed upon between the two parties i.e. agreed price, any financial conditions, possession date etc. This contract is known as the Sale and Purchase Agreement or S&P (it's shorter and most people use this term).


This is the term used by solicitors to define the process of selling and/or buying property.


Solicitors fees usually have disbursements as an additional amount on top of their basic fee. These disbursements are direct costs paid by the solicitor on your behalf i.e. LIM reports, transfer of mortgage fees, bank cheque fees, land title search fees etc and they are passed onto you and added to your bill.


After you have priced your home and are on the way towards placing it on the market, the next logical step is to contact your solicitor. The two main reasons for contacting your solicitor now are…

  1. To make sure they are going to be available when you need them in the near future – you don’t want to be in a panic if you get an offer and your solicitor is on holiday – especially around the Christmas/New Year period.
  1. To discuss and decide how much of a role you want to take when it comes to receiving offers, negotiating or counter offering and handling the overall paperwork such as the Sale and Purchase Agreement. You may want to do it all, some or none of it. 

When you contact your solicitor, not only tell them that you are placing your home on the market, but also discuss costs associated with the sale. This will of course depend on how much they will be doing for you, but definitely obtain either an estimate or a quote.

A solicitor is an important professional person involved in the sale of your home and the majority of your savings by selling privately will be made by not having to pay a real estate commission fee. Remember a solicitor would normally be involved regardless of whether you sell yourself or through a Real Estate company.

And if you don’t have a solicitor, now is a good time to organise who you will use. Recommendations from friends are useful, otherwise look in your local yellow pages or telephone directory. Give several a call to find out how much they charge as you will find the price varies.

Solicitors will generally have separate prices depending on whether you are…


Note: The price they quote will generally be their initial fee. Disbursements (extras such as land search fees) will be an additional amount so ask them what the extras are likely to be and how much it will cost. This will usually be in the form of an estimate as the final cost ultimately depends on how much work was involved i.e. the paperwork may be more complicated than first anticipated.