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The Legals

How Should I Choose My Conveyancer?

Contents

Choosing the right conveyancer or solicitor is just as important as finding the right estate agent. It's important to consider a number of factors before you make your decision on who to work with:

  • Your location

If possible, use a local solicitor or conveyancer. They’ll know about any developments or arrangements that are unique to your area, which can help your sale progress without unnecessary complications.

  • If you need a mortgage

Some mortgage lenders have a preference regarding which legal services suppliers they work with. Make sure to ask your bank which professionals they recommend. However, don’t feel pressured to choose their recommended firm before you’ve compared quotes and customer service reviews from other providers first.

  • Their experience

Although all solicitors are qualified in the conveyancing process, not all have a great deal of property transaction experience. Before making your decision, ask for details of any recent sales they’ve worked on.

Should I choose a conveyancer or a solicitor?

Both conveyancers and solicitors are qualified to help with property transactions, however there are a number of differences you should take into account when deciding which legal representative to choose.

Solicitors

The amount of experience solicitors have in conveyancing can vary widely. If you do choose to work with a solicitor, ensure they specialise in property transactions.

The main benefit of choosing a solicitor is their ability to deal with any complex legal issues that may arise. However, because of this expertise, solicitors are generally more expensive than conveyancers.

Here’s what to look out for when choosing a solicitor:

  • Check they are insured, so that you’re protected if you discover any major legal defects following completion of the sale.

  • Solicitors should be regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. If necessary, you can complain to the Authority and seek compensation.

  • Make sure they are also a member of the Law Society of England and Wales, or the Law Society of Scotland.

Conveyancers

On the other hand, conveyancers are property specialists, but many aren’t able to deal with more complex legal matters.

Look out for the following things when researching whether to work with a conveyancer:

  • Check the conveyancer is regulated and insured so that you’re protected if any major legal issues arise following completion of the sale. If you feel you’ve been mistreated or misled in any way, you’re within your rights to make a complaint to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority who will assess your complaint and issue compensation.

  • A conveyancer must be a member of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, and can also be a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.

Regardless of whether you choose a solicitor or conveyancer to help you with your sale, be sure they have a good reputation and strong track record for customer service. There’s nothing more frustrating or damaging to a sale than unreliable communication.

When should I get a solicitor or conveyancer involved?

The best time to appoint your legal representative is around the same time as you choose your estate agent. Your conveyancer won’t officially step in until a formal offer is made but it’s handy to have your selling team in place and on the same page from the very start.

Preparation and planning can do a lot to speed up the conveyancing process. There are several standard forms and pieces of information that every conveyancer will need from you. Getting ahead and filling out the Property Information Form (TA6) and the Fittings and Contents Form (TA10) can help get the ball rolling.

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