Buying and selling a property takes knowledge and expertise and it will be important for you to choose a solicitor that is experienced in all legal and administrative aspects of property.
There are a number of legal procedures that must be followed when buying a property. For the transaction to move as quickly as possible, you will need a reliable property solicitor or conveyancer to take care of the legal and administrative details. The mark of a good quality conveyancer is the ‘Conveyancing Quality Scheme’ certificate awarded by the Law Society for those who offer a high standard of work through best practice and excellence in client care.
You should begin your search for a solicitor early on in the process, finding a professional that you feel comfortable with is really important. The conveyancing market is huge, but each firm is different and the speed and quality of the service offered varies greatly, even between solicitors at the same practice.
Below are some questions to consider asking a conveyancing solicitor before you instruct them:
Are your fees fixed?
Some solicitors provide an estimate on fees because at the beginning it is not known how complex and therefore how time consuming your purchase will be. Beware of solicitors offering estimated or hourly rate fees as these can quickly rise and become very expensive. Try and negotiate a fixed rate from the start.
Do you offer a ‘No Move No Fee’ guarantee?
Within the housing market many things can change along the way, hopefully your sale or purchase will go through smoothly however, should anything happen you do not want to be charged fees if the sale\purchase falls through.
Does your quote include everything?
Many conveyancing quotes can miss off essentials such as VAT, bank transfer fees or other disbursements with the aim of making the quote seem less expensive and therefore more attractive. Make sure you are getting a fully inclusive quote with all the added extras so from the beginning you know what the end cost is likely to be.
How busy are you at the moment and can you provide me with the service I require?
Whilst a busy solicitor may seem the popular choice they may be slower at processing your property, you want them to be thorough but also not delay your sale\purchase due to being over worked, talk to them about timescales, whilst these can vary depending on the housing market a good conveyancer should get you to completion in around 12 weeks.
Do you use email rather than the post?
Many solicitors are still old school and only use the standard post for exchanging documents and information, nowadays this is unnecessary and will hold up your transaction. Work with modern solicitors that use email, this is much more efficient and will get you completed a lot quicker.
Will I be dealing with my solicitor directly?
Ask the question, will you have direct contact with the solicitor or will you be dealing with their assistants, receiving a personalised service can mean less stress and fewer misunderstandings.
Are you happy to work closely with my estate agent?
When solicitors are happy to work closely with your estate agent, the process will be smoother. Estate agents know the right questions to ask and can push for you at the right time so its important they can talk on your behalf if needed.
Just remember choosing the right or wrong solicitor could determine if your successful house sale\purchase reaches exchange of contract of not!