Guide to Choosing a Solicitor

The person carrying out the conveyancing work, be that a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer, is right at the heart of every residential property transaction so it is important that you pick the best person for the job.

When we compiled the list of solicitors on this site we focused on long established local companies that specialise in conveyancing work. When trying to choose which company would be best for you start by clicking through to their websites to get a feel for the companies. Ask your friends and family if they have used any of the solicitors on the list and if they were happy with the service that they received.

Follow this up by asking your estate agents which local solicitors they would recommend. Your estate agent will have dealt with most of the local solicitors many times and be able to point you towards which are the most helpful and efficient. Be a bit wary if your agent recommends a conveyancing house as this may be more to do with the commission that they receive than what is in your best interests. If you have used a solicitor in the past for other business you could also contact them for recommendations of solicitors specialising in conveyancing.

At the end of this process you will hopefully have a shortlist of 3 or 4 solicitors that you think will do a good job for you. Use our single e-mail service to contact them for a quotation remembering to only tick the boxes of the solicitors that you would like to contact.

The same solicitor cannot act for both the buyer and seller of a property, but two solicitors from the same firm may do so as long as there is no conflict of interests between buyer and seller.

Another thing to bear in mind is that a few lenders, normally those that specialise in the so called “sub-prime” market, will only deal with particular solicitors. If you are taking out this type of mortgage check with your solicitor that they can take the instruction.

In recent years licensed conveyancers have grabbed a share of the market and it is easy to see the attraction of the low cost service that they offer although there are several disadvantages to using an out of the area conveyancing house as opposed to a local solicitor.

Conveyancing houses tend to operate from out of town call centres and are not geared up to receive personal callers. Although it would be nice to think that your transaction will go smoothly and you will easily meet any deadlines this is rarely the case. When you are under pressure to exchange contracts the option to pop in to the solicitor’s office rather than receive and return something through the mail can be very beneficial. Many people also still prefer the opportunity to go in and sit down in the solicitor’s office to go through the paperwork rather than receive a bundle of papers in the post.

With a firm of conveyancers your questions are answered by whoever happens to answer the phone and it can be almost impossible to get through to the person that is actually doing the conveyancing work. This can make it difficult to get answers to specific queries that you may have. Another advantage to using a local solicitor is the valuable local information that they have built up over the years. This is particularly relevant if you are buying a flat in a block or development.

Return to main article index

Tools