Some people choose to cut out the property solicitor and manage the conveyancing process themselves in order to save money. This is a high risk strategy.
It is sensible to use the professionals and instruct a qualified property solicitor. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a conveyancer, whether you are buying or selling a property.
Your solicitor will conduct a range of tasks on your behalf, whether you're buying or selling a property, or both. The general tasks include:
- Drawing up and assessing contracts
- Conducting local searches
- Dealing with the Land Registry
- Managing Stamp Duty charges and payments
- Managing the collection and transfer of funds
- Providing legal advice and recommendations
Find out more detailed information on what your solicitor will do right now on PrimeLocation.
Don't always choose the cheapest as this may indicate a conveyancing solicitor that is handling a high volume of transactions at a time, which may mean a poor service. It might be worth paying a little extra for quality work.
Solicitors charge their clients in a variety of ways. Some may charge a fixed fee, while others will charge you a percentage based on the value of the house or flat in question. In addition, there may be extra fees to cover the cost of paperwork, any complex issues that require additional work, or if the process requires more time and attention than anticipated. You should try and get at least three different quotes and make an assessment. Costs can range from between £500 to £1,500, depending on the work involved and the value of the property. A solicitor will also charge for any additional costs they incur dealing with your transaction, such as postage costs and VAT. These are known as 'disbursements'.
Try and avoid a conveyancing solicitor who is over-worked, or who may be too junior. You want their full attention and experience to make sure no important details are missed. You should try and source a solicitor that you trust and feel that you can work well with. Make sure that the solicitor takes the time to explain everything to you in detail. If there is anything you don't understand, make sure everything is explained in layman's terms.
The best way to find a solicitor, if you've not used one before, is to try and get a recommendation. Family members or friends may have been through the process before, so if you can, ask around and see what other experiences buyers and sellers you know have had with solicitors.
Knowledge of the area
It can save a lot of time if you use a local solicitor with a sound knowledge of local laws and leases. In London, for example, you can come across complicated leasehold arrangements which rural or provincial solicitors may not be conversant with.
The majority of dealings with solicitors can be done over the phone or by email. However, if you're keen for the process to move as quickly as possible, you might want to consider hiring a firm that is within close proximity to where you live or work. If you can visit them in person, you can save time by avoiding documents going to and fro in the post.
Some property solicitors offer the opportunity for clients to track the progress of their property transaction online. This means that you can access your particular case online 24 hours a day to see how it's progressing. In some cases, you can also receive updates via email and text message and all the documentation dealt with through the post, cutting out visits to the solicitor's offices.