Choosing the right solicitor is a big part of buying or selling your home. This is the person who you will be in contact with a lot throughout the conveyancing process, ensuring everything is running smoothly and all the right documents are in the right place.
We’ve rounded up some key points to consider when choosing your solicitor or conveyancer – from the obvious to things you might not think about. It can be a scary time, especially when you are eager to move house. However, we think it’s important that you’re prepared in every way possible to ensure the whole process is as effective as it can be.
What is a solicitor for?
First and foremost, you should understand exactly what your solicitor will be responsible for. This will help you to understand the role they’ll play and why it’s crucial that you choose the right one for you. A solicitor oversees the entire conveyancing process from giving you initial advice and carrying out searches to handling contracts and transferring funds. They will also be responsible for the Land Registry dealings and any local searches.
When do you need to select a solicitor?
Ideally, as soon as you decide you are buying or selling a house you should find a solicitor. You’ll be asked by the estate agent for your solicitor’s details when you put in an offer for a property.
How much does a solicitor cost?
Obviously, each solicitor and law firm will charge different amounts. Depending on the individual solicitor, you will pay either hourly rates, a percentage of the property price or a fixed fee for the transaction. It’s also worth checking that the following items are covered in any fee you pay:
- Land Registry fees
- Stamp Duty (if applicable)
- Postage and courier services where necessary
- Bank transfer
- Additional time needed to complete the process
We recommend that you get several quotes from a few different firms. This way, you can get a good idea of what you can expect to pay. Of course, if you feel more comfortable with a certain solicitor, you might not mind paying a more premium price than a less trustworthy frim. That leads us to our next point!
Choosing the right solicitor: tips & tricks
Think of selecting your solicitor in the same way as any other service. Your estate agent, your bricklayer, your plumber, your gardener. All of these people will be selected for one reason or another throughout your life. For example, you might ask for recommendations from friends and family. You may search on Google to see who’s nearby. You’ll probably back up any choices you have with reviews and comparisons on price.
In terms of solicitors specifically, your estate agent may recommend someone that they work with on a regular basis. Hopefully, this will mean they’re a trustworthy option but there’s also a chance they’re out of your price range. We’d also suggest that you ask your mortgage provider or financial adviser for any recommendations. Once you’ve shopped around to see who’s available, you should consider these factors to make your final decision:
- Do they have good reviews or are they recommended by someone you trust?
- Are their prices fair but affordable?
- How close to your home or workplace are they? (Dropping off documents and popping in for meetings will be easier the closer they are)
- Are they available to speak to via phone or email at times that suit you?
- Do they have a system in place for tracking your process?
- How good is their communication in general?
- Are they a member of the Law Society for your country (England and Wales/Scotland)?
- Are they a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme?
Don’t worry about asking too many questions. It’s important that you feel secure in your choice as this solicitor will be with you all the way through your conveyancing process.
If you need any more guidance on choosing a solicitor, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re always happy to offer our advice and make any recommendations when you decide to buy or sell your property!