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How To Choose The Right Conveyancing Solicitor

The process involved in selling or buying a property is both a stressful and exciting time and therefore ensuring that you will find a solicitor who will guide you through the process and keep you updated at all times is crucial.

Prior to making a decision on choosing the right conveyancing solicitor, it is important to consider a number of factors and to have a basic understanding of what is involved in conveyancing.

Choose The Right Conveyancer

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is essentially a process of entering into a contract between a seller and a buyer through the completion of missives. Completion of missives involves letter exchange between solicitors acting for the purchasers and solicitors acting for the sellers and involves establishment of conditions in relation to the purchase andsale of the property or land.

Although the process of exchanging letters between parties might seem very straightforward, there are numerous factors that will need to be considered. During the process it is necessary to ensure all checks are carried out to avoid any implications or potential additional costs. Essentially, your solicitor should ensure that you have a good understanding of what is included in the purchase or sale price.

What should you consider when choosing the right conveyancing solicitor?

When considering buying or selling a property, it is always a good idea to think ahead of the time and therefore looking for the right conveyancing solicitor is never too early.

There are a number of key factors, which should be considered before choosing the right firm and solicitor to represent you. It is important to choose a firm that is experienced, professional and one that will fill you with confidence that your transaction will run smoothly.

Is the firm accredited? 

Whether a firm has any accredited conveyancing solicitorscan be a very important factor to some people when making the decision on who should handle their purchase or sale transaction. Conveyancing transactions can be very stressful and sometimes it is helpful to know that your solicitor is an accredited specialist and therefore is very much capable of handling even complex transaction in a smooth and time efficient manner.

Does the firm have good reviews?

Doing a bit of research about the firm and reading client reviews will provide you with an insight of what the firm is really like. It will help you understand what previous clients have said about the firm and how they felt about the service they have received. Testimonials on the website or social media are usually good sources to consider and they can assist you with deciding whether you wish a specific firm to represent you.

Is the firm on lender panel?

When buying a property, it is common knowledge that most people will rely on securing a mortgage before they can undertake the process. It is however important to know that most mortgage providers require the firm you choose to act for you, to be on their lender panel before they can release any mortgage funds to them.

Over the past years, many mortgage providers have dramatically increased their requirements through requesting professional indemnity insurance as well as various other documents. Unless a firm can comply with those, they are removed from the lender panel. This can either cause additional delays to your settlement or altogether result in having to look for another firm.

Delays and additional stress during conveyancing transactions are not pleasant. When considering a mortgage, it is therefore important to either check directly with the firm you are intending to instruct or with your broker whether they are on the lender panel before proceeding any further with your transaction.

How much should I pay for a conveyancing transaction?  

Buying a new home is already a high expenditure and therefore is not uncommon for people to budget for the costs of conveyancing transactions. When considering which solicitor to instruct to act on your behalf, it is important to try to choose one that will be in a position to provide you with a set fee rather than charge you for time in line spent on the settlement. Such billing system will allow you to know exactly what is really included in the price of the transaction and will ensure that the costs do not increase drastically throughout the process of the settlement.

Some firms might be able to provide you with a very reasonably priced fee. That being said however, there might be some hidden fees and therefore asking for a breakdown of the solicitor fee and what outlays you will be responsible to pay for is essential. Depending on the value of your transaction, there might be Land and Building Tax Transactions involved as well and therefore your solicitor should provide you with a cash account at the outset so that you can prepare yourself for the expenses involved.

It is also important to remember that conveyancing solicitors who have many years of experience might charge a bit extra for the transactions. This however does not mean that you should disregard them right away. Paying a slightly higher fee for a more experienced or accredited solicitor is money well spent. It is crucial to remember that conveyancing transactions are very important and therefore investing more money for a more attentive and higher standard of service is most likely to be the best route to follow.

Can my solicitor settle the transaction in a timely manner?

Conveyancing transactions and their settlement vary on the complexity of the purchase or sale as well as other factors involved. Generally the process can be completed reasonably quickly and that is between 4 to 10 weeks from the day the offer is made.

That being said however, if you are selling one property and buying another, there will be a number of parties involved in the transaction. Therefore the timing can very much depend on communication between all parties and agreement of the date of the settlement of the transaction.

In some situation, there also may be some delays along the way, meaning that your settlement date might be pushed back. It is important to choose a solicitor who will work towards ensuing that everything is settled within a reasonable period of time and keep you up to date throughout the process.

Will my solicitor keep me updated throughout the process?

Communication is very crucial during conveyancing transaction. With various factors such as what will be included in the price, whether there is valid panning permissions in place as well other factors; communication between client and solicitor is essential.  Your solicitor should be in a position to assure you that they will obtain your instructions on regular basis and provide you with updates throughout the process. It might be a good idea to be clear about the level of communication you will expect from your solicitor.

Will I have a dedicated case handler?

Having a dedicated case handler is very important to some people. When contacting the firm for updates, it is best that you can speak to one person who will know your file thoroughly and have a good understanding what stage the transaction is at. When making enquiries at individual firms, it would therefore be worthwhile making an enquiry about who your main point of contact would be. Experienced solicitors will also inform you if they are on annual leave and provide you with contact details of the person who will be handling your file in the meantime. This should allow you to feel confident throughout the process and consequently reduce the stress levels involved.

Should I instruct a local solicitor?

People tend to believe that when choosing a conveyancing solicitor they should instruct someone local to act on their behalf during the transaction. Placing such restrictions on your choices in not however necessary. Although it might be convenient to attend at a local office to hand in the paperwork or attend at an appointment, it is much more important to choose an experienced and reputable solicitor capable of providing you with a high level of service.  It is a very common practice to communicate with solicitors via emails or telephone calls and therefore instructing a solicitor who is not local does not restrict the ability to communicate nor prohibit them from ensuring that your transaction will run smoothly.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a property it is important to think about choosing a solicitor in advance. With factors such as reputation, price, experience as well as many others mentioned above, it is important to give yourself enough time to research various firms in order to allow you to make an informed choice.

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