When buying leasehold or freehold property, it's important to pick the right conveyancing solicitors. But how do you decide?
1. One of the first things to consider is whether they are specialists in conveyancing? Some small firms of solicitors, particularly sole practitioners working on their own, claim to handle everything - from debt and divorce to conveyancing and commercial work. If one solicitor claims to handle that wide variety of work - do they have sufficient experience and specialist knowledge for you?
2. Check out their website. You can tell so much about how a solicitor is likely to handle your case from their website. It is up-to-date? Does it contain lots of helpful information? Do they use plain English and avoid legalese? Is it clear they really understand technology and how important the use of e-mail is in any more than conveyancing transaction? Do they appear approachable and modern, or stuffy and stuck in the 19th century?
3. Do they understand the LOCAL market?
4. Do they use a call centre? Many so-called conveyancing factories, who are often used by national chains of estate agents, use call centres and you rarely deal with the same person twice. Many people find them impersonal and find that using the conveyancing factory once is once too many. If your estate agent advises you to use a firm of solicitors that is not local to your purchase then ask them why? If there are are honest with you, you may find that it is only because their head office tells forces them to push the conveyancing factory that deal with, or because the estate agencies are getting a personal bonus for passing business - not really a decent reason for you to trust them with your property purchase. Don't forget that whatever your estate agent says, it is your right to choose your own conveyancing solicitor. Make sure that you pick a firm who will give you the name, direct line and email address of both your dedicated property specialist and their assistant and a clear understanding that these individuals will handle your matter from start to finish.
5. Do they offer competitive prices and excellent value for money? Never forget however that cheapest is not always best. Also watch out for hidden extras. Any reputable solicitor will include in your conveyancing quote the price of any disbursements, ie land registry fees and searches etc. Unfortunately some solicitors and licensed conveyances prefer to quote a cheap price but then hide extras on top.
6. Will they keep you informed and provide regular updates on the progress of your transaction in a manner that suits you? Many people prefer updates by e-mail or text. Nevertheless, many solicitors still insist on corresponding via the mail - which can significantly slow down both communication with both you, the estate agent and the other sides of solicitors and even the conveyancing transaction itself.
7. Are their staff approachable and are they available for face to face meetings if required?
Often buying a home will be the most expensive purchase you will ever make, whether it is a freehold or leasehold property. Make sure that you pick specialist conveyancing solicitors who are on your wavelength. For more information visit: conveyancing solicitors.