Choosing the best solicitor when buying a new property
We all want the best possible solicitor to act in our interests when buying a new property, but what makes a good solicitor, and how do you know what to look for when searching for a firm to help you with what is probably one of the most important transactions of your life?
1. Ask around
Friends & FamilySpeak to friends and family who have recently moved house to see whether they would recommend their solicitor or licenced conveyancer and why. This is a really simple way to start narrowing down your search, with the added benefit of speaking with people you actually know and trust, so you don’t need to worry about a biased review.
The Selling AgentThe agency responsible for selling the home you’re looking to purchase is likely to be dealing with solicitors and conveyancers all day long, so they’ll have a good idea as to what to look for and which local firms are particularly good (or not) when it comes to property transactions. Asking for their recommendations can elicit a useful professional opinion which is likely to benefit both of you. The vendor or their agent will also have to speak to your chosen solicitor or conveyancer so they will share your motivation to get someone who is efficient and thorough.
That said, be careful when asking the selling agent for their recommendation as some may receive a commission for recommending particular firms and this could end up being an expensive option for you. While it can be good to get the opinion of the selling agent, check they’re not commissioned and that the recommendation is a genuine, unbiased opinion of the firm. If you’re unsure, ask around some more and do your own research into the firm to ensure you’re getting the solicitor right for you.
A local firm can also be really helpful as they will know the local area, have detailed knowledge of some property purchases in the area and are more likely to have one person responsible for the case management of your purchase. This is in contrast with online conveyancers who may not know the area or may have you speaking to a different advisor every time you call.
3. Check them out
You will need to understand the level and frequency of contact required, the speed of work and the estimated costs. This way, you will know where you stand with a firm before committing to engage their services. It also gives you a good basis on which to chase them up if you’re not receiving the service you were told you could expect.
In addition, if you’re able to speak with the solicitor or conveyancer who’ll actually be handling your case, you will have an excellent opportunity to establish whether you’ll be able to work well with them and start building that all-important rapport even before the work starts. Even the most professional solicitor or licenced conveyancer is only human and establishing a good working relationship with them from the outset may stand you in good stead in the event that they need to prioritise between two cases competing for their attention at any given moment.
4. Size and Capacity
This is particularly important if your purchase is taking place during the summer or Christmas holidays when people tend to go away. A larger firm may be better placed to keep up the momentum and not leave your case languishing in an in-tray.
5. Get what you pay for
As it’s such an important transaction, be sure you’re happy with the level of service you’re going to be receiving and consider whether it’s better to choose quality over cost here. For example, it may be better to pay a little more to receive round the clock care and support, rather than a firm which never updates you on the status of your purchase so you end up wasting your time chasing for updates.
The best solicitors and licenced conveyancers will go the extra mile to deliver exceptional service where required. Given the fragility of some property chains, expediting the transfer of documentation or the information for local authority searches can make the difference between a successful transaction and a chain breaking.
6. Shop around
7. Look for accreditations
8. Can they do the job?
What should I be looking for?
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