Why finding the right Conveyancing solicitor makes all the difference
You have just had your property valued, have recently gone onto the housing market, or perhaps you have just put an offer in on your ideal home. But have you instructed a Conveyancing solicitor yet?
Whether you are buying or selling a house, the process can be exciting, but also daunting for many. Everybody wants to have a smooth and stress-free moving experience and this will largely depend on your Conveyancing solicitor, who is helping you with all of the legalities.
The way in which your Conveyancing solicitor, and their company works, can make the difference between you having a straight-forward experience, to one that can be described as a nightmare and full of regrets.
Here, we take a look at why it is important to find the right Conveyancing solicitor.
What is Conveyancing?
The term Conveyancing describes the entire legal process that takes place in a property transaction between acceptance of the offer and completion of the sale. Although many people tend to think of Conveyancing in relation to the buyer, both parties are equally involved.
The Conveyancing process will depend on the particular features of the sale. In general, though, it will involve:
- various dealings with the Land Registry
- collecting and transferring the various monies paid by the buyer to the seller
- offering legal recommendations and advice
- drawing up contracts and assessing them
- conducting local searches
Who can carry out Conveyancing?
Traditionally, Conveyancing has always been carried out by specialist property solicitors, usually as a department of a general solicitor’s practice. Nowadays, it can also be done by licenced conveyancers and large teams of unqualified people, but both of these pose potential difficulties.
Not all Licenced Conveyancers are legally qualified as solicitors but may be very good at the specific tasks involved in Conveyancing. A qualified Conveyancing solicitor, on the other hand, will have a general knowledge of various legal areas, even if they have chosen to specialise in property work. If they do not know the answer to an issue that arises, one of their colleagues will.
Finding the right Conveyancing solicitor
As with most services, word of mouth is a great way to find a good Conveyancing solicitor, particularly from someone you trust who has previously used them. Even then, it is advisable to find out a little about the transaction, to see how closely it matches yours, and to ask what in particular the person found good or bad about the service. It may be relevant to your case, it might not.
In the absence of personal recommendations, online reviews can give a good idea as to the performance of the Conveyancing solicitor, as long as you take a broad consensus of reviews. Also, as with the personal recommendations, consider both why the reviewer found the service good or bad and how this may relate to your requirements.
If your estate agent has recommended a Conveyancing solicitor to you, it is advisable to try to find out if the agent has an arrangement in place with that particular firm. Some estate agents receive money from the Conveyancing solicitor for their referrals and the quote you receive could include a substantial referral fee to the estate agent, so you will be paying extra and not necessarily getting the best solicitor.
Awards and accreditations count for a lot. It is advisable to check if the Conveyancing solicitor you choose has the appropriate experience and professional accreditations from the Law Society. A solicitor who has nothing to hide will be happy to discuss these matters with you, and you have no need to feel embarrassed asking.
The cheapest is not always the best
The process of changing home is expensive, and obviously any chance to save money will be welcome. However, simply accepting the cheapest quote can sometimes prove more expensive in the long run. A cheap solicitor may not be the best, or they may be extremely busy with the piles of transactions they have to get through, leaving them with less time to devote to you. In some cases, choosing a cheap solicitor could lead to the sale collapsing, and you will have to go back to square one.
Rather than picking the cheapest quote, find out what you will be getting for your money. The initial quote may turn out to be supplemented with a whole variety of extra costs. In general, the best option is to look for a solicitor offering a fixed fee, so there will be no unpleasant surprises.
Know what to expect
While it is not always possible to guarantee how long the process will take, a good solicitor will be able to explain the structure and give you an approximate timetable.
They should also have a good communication system in place. This may be face to face, by phone or online, but you should have confidence that you will be informed of all relevant developments. During a stressful time, the last thing you want is extra stress from being kept in the dark.
To some extent, you can gauge the standard of communication at your initial meeting and on receiving your quotation. While any solicitor knows complex legal language, a good Conveyancing solicitor will also understand the importance of communicating with clients in plain English. If you cannot make head or tail of a solicitor’s explanations, they are probably best avoided.
Location versus expertise
A good deal of contradictory advice is given over whether you would be best advised to instruct a solicitor who is local to the property involved, or whether this is unimportant.
A local solicitor does have advantages, due to knowing particular circumstances of the area. This is more important in some areas than in others. In London, for instance, many properties are subject to complex leaseholds, and a London solicitor will be used to dealing with them, while comparable advantages may apply to other areas.q
However, local knowledge should not be considered to outweigh expertise, efficiency and good communication. If you can find a first-class Conveyancing solicitor who is also local, that would be ideal. The most important factor, though, is to pick the solicitor who seems likely to do the best job.
The importance of the right Conveyancing solicitor
Conveyancing is a complex and potentially stressful process to go through, at a time when many areas of your life are likely to be in upheaval. Picking the wrong solicitor will only increase that stress, may result in the process dragging on and costing more than expected, and could end up with the transaction collapsing.
The right Conveyancing solicitor, on the other hand, will give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of both timeframe and cost, will complete the Conveyancing as quickly and efficiently as possible, and will reduce your stress by keeping you informed throughout the process.
Which would you rather have?
Osborne Morris & Morgan- award winning Conveyancing specialists
Whether you’re buying, selling, transferring or re-mortgaging a property in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire or beyond, our friendly Conveyancing team will keep you informed, so that you have a full understanding of what’s happening at every stage of the process.
We’re proud of all of the positive feedback we receive from our wonderful clients and this speaks for our award-winning, fixed-fee service.