In England and Wales property transactions can be completed by two types of professionals - a conveyancing solicitor and a conveyancer. In this article we’re considering a solicitor (although many of the same arguments could apply to a conveyancer). Read on for some useful advice and tips:
A solicitor who communicates well is usually key to a stress-free property transaction. Make sure he or she is fine with taking calls and has a good electronic system which allows you to check on how the sale or purchase is progressing e.g. that it flags up when your deposit has been paid, legal documents lodged etc.
Avoid working with a solicitor who is part of your extended family or who happens to be a good friend. Buying a house should be kept strictly business. Where family and friends are concerned, emotions can get in the way. In addition, he or she may not be as competent as they make out - especially if they are not actively working anymore and are not up to date with current regulations.
1. Ask around. Word of mouth from family, friends and colleagues is usually a good recommendation that a solicitor knows their stuff. Just make sure that whoever’s judgement you’re trusting has used that solicitor in the last couple of years - or knows someone who has.
2. Ask an estate agent. Being in the ‘industry’ they’ll get to know the most efficient solicitors around and who deals best with property in particular sectors. Just make sure they’re not receiving referral fees for recommending particular legal firms.
3. Get a fixed cost. A solicitor should be able to provide you with an estimated cost of what his or her services will end up costing. They should also be able to provide you with an exact breakdown of those costs. Some solicitors will charge extra for disbursements, for instance.
4. Go local. There’s no reason a local solicitor should be better than one who lives hundreds of miles away. However it’s more convenient for you if you want to pop in and drop an important document off - or just want to meet with solicitor face-to-face.
5. Go for a decent-sized firm. One man band operations can be excellent. But the challenge comes if your solicitor is busy, taking a holiday or off ill when you need to make an urgent decision. At least a solicitor’s office with a handful of staff will be able to help if the solicitor dealing with your case happens to be absent.
6. Qualifications and accreditations. Make sure the solicitor you choose has everything they should in terms of qualifications. They should also be accredited by the Quality Conveyancing Scheme, administered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). If you’re using a conveyancer then they should have accreditation from the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
7. Go out to tender. Don’t just accept the first solicitor’s quote that comes along. Ask at least three solicitors to tender for your work. That way you’ll find out who is most enthusiastic, value for money etc.
8. Check the website. You can tell a lot by how a company presents itself on a website. It should tell you about their values, as well as give you an idea of how professional and efficient they are.
If you need help with finding a solicitor or your next investment property, get in touch using the link below.
Speak to Mike Hill who specialises in investment property.
Call 0333 123 1330