Appointing a solicitor for conveyancing

You’ve found your perfect home or your agent has hooked you a buyer, now what? For many, it’s only at this stage that they start to think about appointing a solicitor to act on their behalf in the conveyancing process. i.e. the legal business of buying and selling property. However, we would urge buyers and sellers to do this before arriving at this stage.

The reasons why one should be well prepared in advance of agreeing a sale/purchase are many and varied but could save you time, avoid complications, stress and even help to avoid disappointment.

In this article, I discuss how to go about choosing a solicitor. In a future one, I will write about the steps involved in appointing a solicitor and what happens before they can actually get the ball rolling and get a sale underway.

Conveyancing: do you homework!

First of all, be prepared to take a day or two to do your homework and find a solicitor you feel is the right one to do a good job for you. It is worth doing a bit of research and asking friends, relations and agents for recommendations.

How experienced are they? Have they dealt with your type of property before? How well do they know the area you are buying/selling in as some local knowledge can be helpful?

How transparent is your solicitor? Make sure there are no hidden fees and that you have an idea as to what you are going to be charged for and how much.

How proactive will your solicitor be in issuing or chasing paperwork, raising or dealing with enquiries, liaising with their opposite number and progressing matters as speedily but as effectively as possible?

How available are they? Solicitors are busy people but you don’t want your case to be at the bottom of the pile. You want them to be good at communicating not only with you but also with the agents involved as agents have a role to play in keep things moving and everyone in the chain informed.

Solicitors: choose wisely

Do not necessarily go with the cheapest quote. Bearing in mind the sums of money involved and the potential complexity of a transaction, good property conveyancing is too important a service to skimp on a few quid on. The same can be said about choosing the right estate agent but that’s another story!

There several large conveyancing companies that process sales almost on a production line basis. They are usually cheaper than the more traditional local solicitor whose office you can pop into and some are perfectly efficient, particularly if it’s a straight forward sale but others can be like dealing with a call centre manned by inexperienced staff.

Lastly, don’t forget that where there is a mortgage involved, the loan provider will also be a client of the solicitor.