How to Choose the Best Conveyancing Solicitor
02 February 2016
There is so much choice in the conveyancing market today that it's difficult to know exactly what you are getting for your money. Conveyancing is not something that most people do very often, so it's understandable if you don't know what to look for when you want to find the best Conveyancing Solicitor.
Some of the ideas we highlight here will be more important for you than others, but they can help to clarify the choices you are making.
- Communication – communication is absolutely vital throughout the conveyancing process. Communication permeates through so much of the transaction from the initial discussions about the transaction on the phone, to your conveyancer keeping in touch with you about progress throughout the process to being contactable at all. Some solicitors do not accept email correspondence, which can make getting in touch about your property purchase much more difficult, particularly if you work full time. Therefore, establishing at the beginning of the transaction the methods you can use to contact your conveyancer and how often they will be in touch to update you on progress. Will you have a direct line to your conveyancing or just a switchboard number? By addressing communication right at the start of the conveyancing process, you should get a clear understanding of how the firm you select will meet your needs.
- Price – this will be an important factor for many people. With house prices rising and moving costs increasing, keeping conveyancing costs to a minimum can be a good way to keep costs low, but low cost options are not always the best. Fixed Fee quotes are becoming the absolute norm in the conveyancing market, however a Fixed Fee is not always a Fixed Fee with all companies. When you are comparing prices, always ask the company to provide you with a comprehensive quotation that outlines exactly what is included in the price. Your quotation should also contain the amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax you will need to pay, calculated on the price of your home, and the figure you have to pay to the Land Registry which is also based on the price of your property. One of the biggest areas of complaints to the Legal Ombudsman about conveyancing, detailed in the 'Losing the Plot' report shows that 28% of all complaints are about hidden costs and delays.
- Completion Date – If you are working to a tight completion deadline or if there is a very large chain of properties all moving towards completion on a specific date, you need to be as sure as you can be that your move will happen in time. Whilst no solicitor or conveyancer will give you a cast iron guarantee that your move will happen on time, you need to be explicit about the deadline you have and also ask them to be honest about whether they can meet it or not.
- No Sale, No Fee Guarantee – losing a property is not on anyone's wish list, particularly if they have already started carrying out searches and paying out on conveyancing fees, but it does happen. Many conveyancing firms offer a No Move No Fee agreement, but if they do be sure that you understand exactly what this means. Whilst you won't be liable for any legal costs, you could be liable for any third fees incurred such as any searches carried out on the property and also any official searches completed. Don't be caught out.
- Shop Around – Finally, because there is so much choice in the conveyancing market, do your research and take your time to make a decision about who you want to handle your house move for you based on the comprehensive quotes you obtain. If there is not much difference in them, factor in how personable your conveyancer is – if you get on with them personally, your move is likely to be a more pleasant experience.
At Co-op Legal Services, we pride ourselves on offering a clear, fixed fee conveyancing service to all our customer's right across the UK, including England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.