Finding a Solicitor When Buying/Selling a House/Flat/Property

Top Tips on Finding a Solicitor when Buying/Selling a Property

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Which solicitor is best for you?

It isn’t vital to engage a solicitor at the outset, but finding one “early on” could help to speed things up because once you find a property you will want the process of making it your own to begin yesterday!

If you are relying on a mortgage to buy your property, your chosen solicitor
may need to be approved by your lender. If this is the case, this article may not be all that relevant.

It may be that your friends or family members can recommend someone, but we think it will still be worth taking the time to get quotations from several sources (unless money is no object, of course!)

However, if you are happy to accept “an estimated price”, you might as well stop reading now. The estimate
will increase and you will have to pay it! But at least ask what the conveyancing hourly rate is.

Don’t be intimidated, solicitors are just normal people doing a job. You wouldn’t dream of engaging a builder or estate agent without a quotation. Ask for an itemised quotation with a fixed price.

When he tells you there are too many variables involved, ask him to outline them with the additional fees he would expect them to generate , he
will be aware of them.

If he’s evasive, don’t use him, there are plenty more out there.

Conveyancing , which is the legal process of transferring property from a seller to a buyer , involves many processes. We have outlined them in a
separate article It is very important that his quotation includes them all.

Be aware.....If his fixed fee comes with the addendum
“plus disbursements”. Ask what they are and just how much he expects they will add to your bill.

Where to look

A local company who you can go to see and ask questions face to face.

If you are unable to deal with the prospect of not being able to meet with your solicitor in person, then a local firm will probably be best for you and there are comparison sites that will email you several prices from firms in your area. Also, if a crisis occurs and papers have to be produced or signed quickly, it can be re-assuring to know that both you and your solicitor are geographically close. Ask if the quotation includes a visit or two!

An estate agent recommendation

When you find a house and are ready to
make an offer through an estate agent, it is likely that you will be recommended their in-house solicitor. This may be tempting if you haven’t already engaged one of your own. However, it is likely that the solicitor and the agent have a commission sharing arrangement and it may be you who will end up paying for it.

A web-based company which will most likely have a panel of solicitors.

The quickest way to get quotations is probably via the internet where you will find sites that respond with an instant quote based on basic information provided by yourself. These companies usually offer good value for money because their overheads tend to be lower than office-based solicitors who provide a more personalised service. The online companies will correspond with you by email and telephone and will post documents to you when required. They may also be available at weekends and in the evening.

A solicitor with an office elsewhere in the country.

If you are living in London, or another high cost area, you may be able to save some money by engaging a solicitor in another region, so consider obtaining a quotation from one or more of these. As with the online specialists, your ‘remote’ solicitor will conduct your conveyancing via the telephone, e-mail and conventional mail.

How long will it take?

You can’t really expect a definitive answer to this question..... Pieces of string spring to mind!

We can tell you that given
no problems whatsoever, undertaking all the conveyancing necessary to both sell your house and buy the other, could take less than a week. It never happens though, there are too many external forces working against him...... faltering “chains”, other solicitors not responding, you changing your mind etc!

You could affect one of the processes though.

in general are notorious for working at their own speed, so once you have engaged one, you should encourage him to stay on your case by regularly asking how things are progressing. Make it clear that you are willing to help expedite matters in any way you can. It may be that you can liaise with your seller and keep each other informed about where things stand. If both parties appear to be eager and involved it may just help to motivate the respective solicitors!

Whichever route you take, you should make certain that you choose a solicitor who is experienced in conveyancing.
If you are considering engaging a solicitor who also undertakes cases in other areas of the law, think of asking what percentage of the firm’s work is in conveyancing and how many cases they handle in a year.

A Guide To The Process of Buying/Selling a Home/House/Flat