Choosing the right conveyancer or property lawyer is crucial to minimising stress, cost and time when buying or selling property. Finding the right lawyer could even make the house sale/purchase less likely to fall through! However, like property, there is a different perfect lawyer for everyone. This guide contains helpful tips and advice for when picking your lawyer in order to avoid a conveyancing nightmare.
There are many corporate relationships between estate agents, mortgage brokers and law firms. The agent or broker will often encourage you to instruct their recommended lawyers and may even use high pressure tactics to get you to sign up to these services usually because they are paid a commission for each introduction. Listen to the points being made, but go away and carefully consider and research their recommendation as well as alternative options before making an informed decision.
The terms “property lawyer” and “conveyancer” both relate to those professionals legally qualified and able to conduct the legal process of buying or selling a property for you. The terms generally cover both Licensed conveyancers who are qualified only to practice in conveyancing and solicitors who are qualified to offer all kinds of legal services depending upon their area of speciality.
The cost of conveyancing can vary greatly. You should ensure you take all the legal fees and third party costs into account when you are budgeting for the move. Make sure any quotes include all the costs and there are no hidden extras. Check your quote is guaranteed and there is a “no completion, no fee” policy meaning no nasty bill if your house sale/purchase falls through.
If possible opt for an individual. A dedicated lawyer will get to know you and your individual case. You will also be able to form a direct and trusted relationship.
Many lawyers are still in the dark ages when it comes to the use of technology and therefore do not automatically assume you will be able to communicate with your lawyer by email if this is part of the service you are looking for. Always make sure you are given a direct line to your lawyer. In addition check for other enhancing qualities such as the option to communicate by email, to track the progress of your case and upload and access documents online, giving you 24-7 access and saving you precious time and cost by avoiding “snail mail”. A good test is to ask prospective lawyers a set of questions and assess how prompt they reply, whether they answer the question in full and in plain English.
A common misconception is that property lawyer needs to be local. All lawyers have to conduct the legal process and undertake the exact same searches and this will all be done without leaving the office. Unless you have a specific desire to make an appointment and sit in front of your lawyer there is little advantage in them being local. It is often more advantageous to instruct one of the best property law firms in the UK who will often not be local to you but from whom you will benefit from their extensive knowledge, expertise and customer service.