Choosing the right solicitor can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Should you rely on recommendations from family or friends or go at it alone and choose one yourself? Will you look for the cheapest fee? Or find the one with the highest rating on Yelp?
Here are our 10 primary things to consider when choosing a conveyancing solicitor that will help you make the best choice.
1- Is your solicitor on your mortgage lender’s panel?
Choosing a solicitor who is not on your mortgage lender’s approved panel of solicitors can lead to unnecessary complications and even a mortgage rejection. So double-check that the solicitor you choose is on the panel of the bank or building society you are using for your mortgage. If they are not, ask them to register with that lender. Registration can take time and, in a market where time is at a premium, this can be a problem.
Solicitors all charge fees, which can vary widely, depending on their location and reputation. Generally, buying a house is a difficult time for your finances, so make sure you budget for your conveyancing fees. The cheapest solicitor is not always the best, so be careful if the price is significantly lower than you expected.
An excellent way to evaluate a lawyer is to check what previous clients have to say about them as a lawyer. If he or she has received excellent reviews from people he or she has worked with throughout the process, you are likely to be in good hands.
4- Ask your family and friends
At one time or another, our friends and family are likely to have gone through the home buying process. Having a lawyer recommended by family gives you a good idea of the expectations you should have. Also, if they have had a bad experience, you know you can leave them off your list.
5- Check references
Experienced lawyers are probably much better equipped to handle your conveyancing than a firm of junior lawyers. Don’t be afraid to ask your solicitor what experience they have and what their qualifications are. Woodgrange Solicitors advise that a good law firm will always be able to demonstrate its ability to handle your conveyancing.
6- Be aware of estate agent’s recommendation
Estate agents currently face a number of financial challenges, and one way to deal with them is to make a deal with solicitors. Often an estate agent will recommend an estate agent. This is normally because they have a financial agreement for each client they refer. This can lead to you receiving a poorer quality service than if you had sought your own estate agent or solicitor.
7- Local knowledge can play a role
While you may be tempted to hire an estate agent in another location because they offer good rates, this can also have repercussions. Hiring a mediator from your area gives them an advantage because they specialise in that area. A local solicitor will be aware of local developments and news that may impact on your property purchase. Hiring a local lawyer can speed up the completion process considerably.
8- Find out about your solicitor’s fee structure
Returning to the original point about fees, you need to find out how your solicitor’s fees are structured and whether they charge a fixed fee or a percentage of the property value. Some mediators, such as estate agents, charge a percentage of the value of the property you are buying, which can increase the fee compared to traditional fixed fee mediators.
9- Make sure they provide a full breakdown of their fees.
A reputable estate agent should always provide a full breakdown of costs so that you are not fooled by the services you are paying for. Using a solicitor to handle the sale or purchase of your property should be transparent and clear from the start.
The process of buying a property can be convoluted and confusing, especially if you are a first-time buyer. An estate agent who communicates with you as the process unfolds is definitely one you should be looking for. Searching for solicitors and all the other hassles that come with buying a property is an added and unnecessary stress. Good estate agents hold your hand every step of the way. To learn more about the conveyancing process, check out this article that gives a clear and concise description.
Choosing the right solicitor could be the most important thing you do when buying a home.
A well-qualified, communicative and knowledgeable solicitor can relieve you of any extra stress and allow you to concentrate on other things such as choosing a removal service and settling into your new home.
About the Author
CMO. MortgageLadder. Using the art and science behind marketing, I strive to deliver an enhanced brand experience to our users. My background as a data scientist allows me to make data-driven marketing decisions that support business growth. I’m fond of great books, fitness and sweets!