Top Ten Tips For Choosing A Conveyancing Solicitor
The right conveyancer can provide expert support and guidance to make the entire process as simple and hassle free as possible. Here are the top ten tips for choosing a conveyancing solicitor.
Buying a new home is one of the most significant experiences that most people will have and it can be something of a nerve-wracking time. The right conveyancer can provide expert support and guidance to make the entire process as simple and hassle free as possible. Here are the top ten tips for choosing a conveyancing solicitor.
1. Do some research into different types of conveyancing services. Whilst traditionally, conveyancing might have been carried out by your local high street solicitor, these days there are many different types of conveyancing to choose from. Internet conveyancers have become popular thanks to offers of low prices and speedy delivery, but make sure that you’re getting the full range of services included in your package, no matter how low the cost.
2. Don’t just make the decision on cost alone. No one wants to spend any more than they have to on conveyancing fees but sometimes opting for the cheapest deal can leave you with lots of ‘added extras’ at the end of the transaction that end up making it much more expensive. Ensure that everything you want included in the service will be, and be wary of trying to save a few pounds at the expense of your peace of mind.
3. Don’t take the first offer. It’s important that you get a few quotes before deciding which one to go for. Every quote should be the same so make sure that the legal fees, disbursements and VAT are included in each one.
4. Research what happens if it all goes wrong. Although you might think that if a transaction falls through for you that’s the end of the matter, the conveyancer you’re using might have spent a lot of time working on your transaction and you may still owe them for the fees. Check up front what the situation is in terms of a sale or purchase not completing – do you have a ‘no move no fee’ deal and what does that mean? Even if you don’t have to pay legal fees if the deal falls through, will you still have to pay search fees, such as disbursements for example?
5. Make sure that you read the small print. There can often be some confusion when it comes to what is included in the cost of the fee for conveyancing. Obviously lawyer’s fees will be part of that but make sure that your quote lists the disbursements too, so that you aren’t caught out by hidden costs. Don’t be afraid to challenge anything that looks suspicious – some firms may offer rock bottom fee quotes only to then try and recoup the lower amount by charging costs that should be part of the fee as ‘disbursements.’
6. If you’re relying on a referral then make sure it’s genuine. Personal recommendations go a long way when it comes to conveyancers but if you’re choosing a firm because of suggestions from an estate agent or mortgage broker then be aware that sometimes there may be an introduction fee changing hands for passing you on, and the recommendation may not be genuine. Remember also that some mortgage lenders may require you to work with one of their specific panel firms – this is not a recommendation but a requirement for receiving your mortgage.
7. Ask plenty of questions. With a transaction as important, and costly, as this the more comfortable you feel and the better informed that you are, the easier the experience will be. No matter how silly the question might seem, ask it – that is what you’re paying your lawyers for. Don’t feel intimidated and don’t allow yourself to be bullied into decisions you don’t want to make.
8. Make sure you are fully informed about the property you’re buying. You should be shown a title plan by your solicitor and a number of searches should be carried out to establish the state of the property. A local authority search will uncover issues with planning permission or local authority consents; an environmental search is used to identify any problems with contaminated land that could be enormously costly for a new owner; and a water and drainage search will cover arrangements for water supply and drainage.
9. Make sure there is two-way communication. Some conveyancing firms are substandard when it comes to responding to emails or phone calls and the cheaper your quote the less likely the service will be particularly comprehensive. Be persistent in your enquiries and if necessary complain to the conveyancing firm. No matter how cheap the quote they cannot ignore you.
10. If you don’t get any response from the conveyancing firm when you make a complaint then you have the option of complaining to the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints can be made via the website (www.legalombudsman.org.uk) or on the phone (0300 555 0333).
The Stephensons conveyancing team has years of experience and we offer full, transparent quotes with no hidden extras. We have a Homebuyers Plus service, which offers money back if buyer is gazumped and we are accredited by the Conveyancing Quality Scheme and Lexcel accreditation. We take our client service very seriously, offering attentive communication as well as features such as online case tracking access for clients via our website, to make the whole process that much easier.
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