The conveyancing process in the UK is notoriously slow and pricey.
So, choosing a solicitor for conveyancing can be like picking a needle out of a haystack. How do you find a good conveyancing solicitor that will ensure your house move runs as smoothly as possible?
Do you take recommendations from friends and family? Do you opt for the cheapest fees? Or, do you find a solicitor with the best online ratings?
Here at SlothMove, we’re well aware of how difficult choosing a solicitor can be. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to how to choose a conveyancer.
We’ll provide you with all the information you need to find a good conveyancing solicitor. What to consider when choosing a solicitor, whether to choose a local or online conveyancer, and when to appoint a conveyancing solicitor – we’ll answer all your pressing questions.
It’s well worth taking the time to choose the best solicitor for your house purchase or sale as a good conveyancing solicitor will:
So, you want to know how to find a good conveyancing solicitor? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s what you should think about when choosing a solicitor for conveyancing:
The fees that solicitors charge can be wide-ranging, and largely depend on location and reputation. However much your solicitor will cost, it is essential that you budget for your conveyancing costs.
It is important to note that the cheapest conveyancer is not always the best solicitor to choose. You should be very cautious if the conveyancing quote is significantly lower than you would expect.
One great way of evaluating the experience of a solicitor is to check what previous clients have to say about them as a conveyancer. If a conveyancer has mostly 5-star reviews from people they have taken through the process, you’re likely to be in safe hands.
At some point, some of your friends and family will have been through the house buying process. It’s a good idea to ask around for any recommendations for tried and tested solicitors.
Experienced solicitors are likely to be much better equipped to handle your conveyancing process than a firm made up of newly-qualified legal juniors. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask what experience your solicitor has and what qualifications they hold.
At the end of the day, a good conveyancing solicitor will always be able to demonstrate their capability to handle your house move.
You should find out how your conveyancer’s fee structure operates and whether they charge a fixed fee, hourly or by a percentage of the property value.
Some conveyancers charge a percentage of the value of the property you’re purchasing which could drive up fees relative to traditional fixed fee conveyancers.
A good conveyancer should always provide a full breakdown of their costs so you know exactly how much you’ll be paying and what for. The process of choosing a conveyancing solicitor should be clear and transparent from the get go.
The property buying process can be very convoluted and complex, especially for a first time buyer. Thus, it is essential that you find a conveyancer that communicates with you clearly throughout the entire process.
Chasing solicitors on top of all the other hassles involved in buying a house creates additional and unnecessary stress. A good conveyancer will support you every single step of the way, ensuring you know exactly what’s going on from start to finish.
Choosing a good solicitor for conveyancing could be the single most important thing you do throughout the house moving journey. A professional, experienced, communicative and informed solicitor can relieve you of much avoidable stress.
This will allow you to focus on other important house-moving tasks, such as booking removals, buying your new home essentials, setting up your utilities and updating your address.
Traditionally, local solicitors have been able to maintain a stronghold on the conveyancing industry. This is purely because prospective clients typically believe that ‘local knowledge’ is an essential part of doing the job properly.
However, this is simply not true.
Really, there is no need to ever meet your conveyancing solicitor during a typical house sale or purchase. Therefore, you shouldn’t limit yourself to the small number of your local solicitors.
Instead, you should shop around and find a specialist that will provide you with the best service at a competitive price.
The only reason you might need to use a local solicitor for conveyancing is if your property transaction is not typical and involves more complicated matters, such as creating new rights of way, dividing a property or changing existing boundaries.
If this is the case, then it may make sense to instruct a conveyancer that is able to easily isit the property.
When choosing a solicitor for conveyancing, it’s always best to get a recommendation from someone who’s actually used and experienced the service – not your estate agent.
You should always be cautious about using a conveyancing solicitor recommended by an estate agent. This is because their recommendations will often be overpriced due to the referral fees that they have negotiated.
You shouldn’t underestimate how assertive estate agents can be when selling services to you that are profitable for them. With such large referral fees to be gained, some estate agents’ recommendations may well be serving their best interests, not yours.
Nowadays, the Internet provides access to a huge range of specialist online conveyancing firms that offer conveyancing services on a fixed-fee and no completion, no fee basis.
There are endless affordable conveyancing services competing for your business online, some quoting fees as low as £125.
However, with so much choice when it comes to online conveyancers, sorting the good solicitors from the bad can be tricky.
When choosing an online solicitor, you shouldn’t make your choice based purely on cost. In fact, the cheapest conveyancers are often the busiest and, in turn, the most difficult to contact. Choosing an overworked and underpaid solicitor won’t help you secure the property you’re after, within the shortest time frame.
Don’t fall into the trap of saving £100 on conveyancing fees only to make the process more stressful and drawn out for yourself.
Should I choose a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to handle my house move?
First, let’s look at how they differ:
Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are qualified professionals with a wide breadth of law knowledge, including litigation, family law and personal injury law, amongst a whole range of other types of legal agreements.
A solicitor might specialise in property transactions or they might do a little bit of everything.
Unlike solicitors, licensed conveyancers are only qualified to practice property law and are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
So, are licensed conveyancers as good as solicitors?
There seems to be a preconception that licensed conveyancers are less qualified than solicitors.
However, licensed conveyancers study conveyancing and land law specifically. As they only study this area, they should have the necessary experience to properly complete a house transaction.
In reality, this means that solicitors and conveyancers should be equally accomplished when it comes to conveyancing.
We have put together this comprehensive good conveyancing checklist for you to judge any conveyancing service against:
The answer: as soon as possible!
If you take anything from this guide, it should be to instruct your conveyancer well before acceptance of an offer.
A lot of the time, buyers and sellers wait until they have either secured an offer or found the property they want to purchase before instructing a solicitor.
Traditionally, this was to avoid incurring any costs before knowing that the transaction was up and running. Today, however, most conveyancing firms work on a ‘no completion, no fee’ basis, which means that risk is no longer there.
Thus, there is no reason why you shouldn’t instruct a solicitor as soon as you begin to think about selling or buying a property. By instructing a conveyancer as soon as possible, you will save many weeks worth of ‘faffing’ and paperwork.
After reading this guide, hopefully you have a better idea of what to look for when choosing a solicitor for conveyancing.
While the house-buying process is long and drawn-out as it is, it’s definitely worth taking the time and effort to find a good solicitor to handle the process.
This might seem like a chore in the short term, but you’ll thank us further down the line when your conveyancing solicitor knows what they’re doing, is easy to contact and gets all tasks done in a fraction of the time.
Find out about conveyancing in Scotland too.
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