How Do I Choose A Conveyancing Solicitor?

Finding solicitors to do your conveyancing can be a difficult business. With so much choice from varying types of firms and services, how do you choose the right one?

The following is some advice on how to go about the search for a good conveyancing solicitors.

What types of solicitors are out there?

– The small firm; these often have only one or two partners in charge which can cause problems. If you take up work with such a firm the chances that the progress of your case will be disrupted is high. You may encounter problems such as; you cannot get through to your solicitor on the phone, they may not have a DX system in place and annual leave or sickness can often interfere with the services they offer. The firm could also lack a comprehensive complaints handling procedure.

– The big firm; although they may have a large competent team of conveyancers, may not be local to your area and therefore may be lacking some of the basic knowledge that can often aid a property transaction. These firms should be approached in the case of a large commercial property transaction or a particularly complex conveyance.

– The local firm; depending on the size and complexity of the transaction, this type of firm would normally be your first point of call. You should try to find a firm that is medium in size and has an experienced team of conveyancing solicitors; the firm should be local to the area in which you are purchasing the property.

– The ‘no-completion no-fee’ firm; this type of deal can normally be found on-line. The service works on the basis that if the transaction does not proceed past exchange of contracts (through no fault of the buyer) then you do not owe any legal fees. Note; this does not include any disbursements incurred. This may sound like a good deal especially in a tentative sale, however, be aware that firms such as this may be tempted to rush the conveyancing process in order to start accruing fees. If you are interested in a firm that offers this service then be sure to obtain a full quote for your transaction and where possible read a review on their conveyancing department.

So how do I choose between the firms local to me?

A good place to start is with your estate agent. The estate agents will have built up relationships with their local solicitors, and should know which firms do a good job for their clients. Make a list of any recommendations that they make. Do not be afraid to ask your estate agent whether or not they hold a referral contract with their recommended firms.

This list of recommendations can be used to form a shortlist for you to base your own investigations on. At this point check with your lender to ensure that they have no restrictions on what solicitors you use.

Start by looking up the solicitors on-line by visiting their websites and identify the appropriate people to contact for conveyancing. Email these people directly with a summary of the transaction and ask for a quote for the work.

The way conveyancing solicitors charges may vary. Some firms will ask you to pay a fixed fee, but others will charge a percentage of the property’s purchase price. Most commonly are those whom charge a fixed fee subject to the payment of any disbursements (such as VAT, land registry fees) and any additional unforeseen costs. You should compare all quotes received, do not however be tempted to simply go for the cheapest one. Compare your quotes with the order in which your agent recommended the firm. Correlate the firm that is going to offer a good service at a reasonable price.

Once again, your decision may be affected if you are purchasing commercial property or are entering into a complex arrangement.


About the Author:
Bonallack & Bishop is a firm of experienced conveyancing solicitors with a team highly skilled in enfranchisement work. Tim Bishop is senior partner at the firm, responsible for all major strategic decisions. He has grown the firm by 1000% in 12 years and has plans for continued expansion.
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