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Conveyancing: A Guide to Choosing a Solicitor

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Buying a house is likely to be the single most important investment that many of us will make in our lifetime.  Whether it’s your first starter home or the dream ‘forever’ home, there are all manner of tasks involved when moving house, from packing, arranging removals, organising new utility suppliers, applying for school places, updating friends and family along with much more.

One of the most important parts of the process when it comes to moving house is instructing a conveyancer to act for you.  A conveyancer will be responsible for explaining the whole house-buying/selling process to you, reviewing and approving contract papers, search results, planning documents etc and will eventually be the person responsible for registering you as the owner of your new home.

A good conveyancer will guide you through the transaction, provide regular updates and be on hand for assistance and advice when required.  

It is therefore important that when choosing a conveyancer you make sure you choose a firm that you are comfortable with and who you feel you can trust to look after your transaction effectively.

We have put together a few tips for you to assist you in selecting a Conveyancer to act for you in your sale and/or purchase:

1.  What kind of service do you require?

There have been a number of changes in the kinds of conveyancing services available in recent years.  It is now possible to instruct a firm of online solicitors, some use call centres, some have offices all over the country, and some are purely local.  Whilst the larger non-local firms can often appear cheaper, when choosing a solicitor do bear in mind that if something untoward crops up, or the matter becomes rushed, having a solicitor local to you can be worth its weight in gold.

2.  Do your research

 Once you have decided upon the type of service you require it is important to shop around for a variety of quotations to ensure you are getting the best value for money.  Often people are understandably driven by price when obtaining quotations but watch out, make sure that all quotations you receive mention ALL the costs and disbursements you are likely to incur and there are no hidden costs waiting to surprise you on completion.

3.  Remember, cheapest isn’t always best

As with so many things in life, the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ can often apply to legal services.  What may appear too good to be true in terms of a conveyancing quotation may well be just that.  Check online reviews, ask the firm if they can provide any client testimonials, ask around to see if you know anyone who has any experience of them.  You could even ask the estate agents involved in your sale, they often have a very good knowledge of local firms and will be able to advice on who to avoid.  You are spending thousands of pounds on a property; it therefore may be worthwhile spending a little more to get the best service.

4.  Communication is key

Once you feel you have a good idea of who you would like to instruct, it is worthwhile taking the time to give them a call and have a chat through the process with them.  This will give you a feel for how they deal with matters, an opportunity to strike up a rapport between you and provide reassurance (or otherwise) as to how they will handle your transaction.  A good conveyancer will be happy to speak to you about any concerns or queries you have and will take their time to listen to your requirements for the transaction.  If someone doesn’t have time for you before you have even instructed them, it does not bode well for a future working relationship.

5.  Check Accreditations and Lender Panel Memberships

Some solicitors firms are now members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.  This is a nationally recognised accreditation which demonstrates that a firm has reached the Law Society’s benchmark standard for conveyancing services.  Conveyancing departments have to withstand an arduous application process and provide evidence of high standards of customer service and legal training in order to be awarded scheme membership, so it is well worthwhile choosing a firm bearing the CQS logo as you can be reassured they are meeting the highest standards of technical expertise and client service.

Further, membership to the CQS is now a requirement of a number of mortgage lenders.  If you are obtaining a mortgage in your purchase transaction it will be necessary for your conveyancer to act for your lender as well as you.  Many solicitors firms are on a panel of approved solicitors approved by a mortgage lender.  If yours is not, you may well need to find another firm to act for your mortgage lender which could increase your legal fees.

Our experienced, helpful and supportive conveyancing departments successfully look after many peoples housing transactions every day.  As one of the busiest and most popular housing solicitors in the area we have the expertise to look after you and that all important house move.

If you have any queries on the conveyancing process, or would like a quotation for our services, please do give the Conveyancing Team at Rogers & Norton a call either in Norwich on 01603 666001 or Attleborough on 01953 453774.