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Choosing a Conveyancing Solicitor Help Guide

26th November 2015

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What is the role of a Conveyancing Solicitor?

A Conveyancing Solicitor arranges for the legal title of a property to move from seller to buyer.

Here are some useful tips to help you choose a Conveyancing Solicitor for your move:

1. Shop around. As with any major purchase or decision, the first (or cheapest) option may not be the best. Look around and compare several Conveyancing Solicitors to get a sense of what services they offer, the conveyancing fees and which conveyancer might be most suitable for you.

2. Beware of hidden costs. You’ll typically need to pay for legal fees, VAT and disbursements (fees paid by the Conveyancer to third parties). At Co-op Legal Services, the conveyancing fee you are quoted for the agreed work is the conveyancing fee you pay. With your conveyancing costs agreed upfront, you know what all the costs are before any work is carried out and you don’t have to worry about escalating costs.

3. Pay particular attention to ‘disbursements’. There are many different costs your Conveyancing Solicitor might need to pay on top of their own fees, including stamp duty, search fees and Land Registry fees. If you see an unexpected extra fee or conveyancing cost that another conveyancer doesn’t charge, query it so you’re not hit with additional payments.

4. Ask what you’ll still have to pay if there’s no sale. Some Conveyancers, including Co-op Legal Services, offer a No Sale No Fee Guarantee service. Make sure you know and understand what this means from the outset.

5. Look out for bundled deals.Some businesses, for example, estate agents have preferred partners, such as mortgage providers and Conveyancing Solicitors. They will typically lower their own conveyancing fees if you agree to use these services. Shop around and make sure you understand what this means for you. 

6. Look for relevant experience. The internet has made it easier than ever to find a legal professional at lower cost, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have the right expertise for your property transaction. That’s why it is important to get the right advice from specialist Conveyancing Solicitors with the legal expertise and knowledge of property law.

7. Make sure they take time to listen to you. Buying a property is not a ‘rubber stamp’ job. You may have many questions you want to ask. A good Conveyancing Solicitor will listen to you and check out any concerns you have – as well as offering their own advice and opinions on the deal in question.

8. Make sure they are pro-active. The Conveyancer is the legal expert, not you, so they should be the one going out and negotiating with other parties and ensuring that there are no hitches. If you continually have to prompt them to do their job, it’s not a good sign. You should get a good sense of how they’ll approach things by looking at any customer feedback online (on review sites as well as their own websites).

9. Discuss searches. Your Conveyancing Solicitor can carry out a number of different searches to check for matters as diverse as flood risk to local regulations about upkeep of pathways around the property. They can advise you, but it’s up to you to decide which to get.

10. Make no assumptions. Look at the plans for the property and check exactly what you are buying in terms of land. Don’t assume that a piece of garden or side path will be included, and discuss with your Conveyancing Solicitor the implications of this.

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