Buying and selling a property is commonly known as one of the most stressful tasks you will undertake in your life time. But the truth is, it does not need to be.
By taking the time to carry out a little research before instructing a solicitor, you can avoid the usual negative experience that the majority of property owners face today.
Here are our top tips for choosing the right solicitor when buying or selling your home:
Cheaper is definitely not better
One thing I have found out during my lifetime, is that you get what you pay for! It is wise to shop around for a good deal, but if you are using comparison sites and using google to find the ‘cheapest conveyancer’, then you will likely receive a cheap experience. Some firms can offer a lower base rate because essentially they are known as conveyancing factories churning out transactions on a conveyer belt.
You will rarely speak to the same person twice and of course, the more overworked someone may be, the more likely mistakes will be made. This can cost you dearly down the line. I cannot stress enough that quality is paramount when hundreds of thousands of pounds are on the line, for most people this is their life savings, so in comparison paying slightly more at the outset for a specialist in property who can offer a personal experience together with expert advice really is a no brainer.
I would highly recommend choosing a firm that offers a fixed fee service for conveyancing.
A decent firm will provide you with a full list of their fees after your initial discussion, so there are no surprises along the way and you are not facing escalating fees. This is a tell-tale sign of a good firm to opt for, they want you to have a good experience and avoid the issue of arguments regarding fees down the line. They are being as up front as possible as opposed to those trying to squeeze every possible penny out of you at each stage of the transaction. In conveyancing, an hourly rate is not how you would be charged.
In addition, choosing a local firm is no longer a necessity for property transactions.
Some people do prefer to be able to walk in to their local solicitor’s office, which is great! But thanks to technology this is no longer required, so if there is a particular firm with outstanding reviews in a different post code area, do not let it put you off! In this ever changing world, we adapt. Even before the pandemic of 2020 hit, it was very common to not visit your solicitors office during a transaction; documents were signed via post, and contracts were exchanged via telephone. All of this made the process more swift and efficient for buyers and sellers.
Do your law firm research
Again, technology has benefitted us in that we do not need to spend weeks visiting offices anymore. If there is a firm you are interested in, take a look at their reviews and look for common trends.
A good solicitor will tailor their experience to suit you. So when looking at reviews, if the majority state that they as a client, received a brilliant service, it was as stress free as possible, they were regularly updated, and the solicitor attended to their needs throughout the transaction, then it is a great place to start.
Know other places to look
I have personally come across some fantastic conveyancers and solicitors, some (we shall say) not so good, however no two are same.
This is where your research will assist. Most solicitors are highly trained. Some solicitors may deal in various areas of the law so they can generally do a good job, however if you go for a solicitor who specialises in property, you will find that this is what they live and breathe 24/7!
It will be rare they have not come across the more technical issues that can crop up in a complex transaction, when buying and selling either leasehold or freehold property.
If you know the property you are dealing with may have a potential issue then you should aim to instruct a specialist. Researching the solicitor and not just the firm will help you choose the right one for you. The law society website has information on firms and their individual solicitors, which you can find at www.lawsociety.co.uk/findasolicitor.