With the ease and cost of selling online today far outweighing traditional channels, it is no longer finding the right high street estate agent that is of vital importance when buying and selling a house, but finding the right solicitor.
The right solicitor can be a god send during the buying process and will take care of the nitty gritty legal requirements involved in buying a property. The speed and efficiency at which they work can also make or break a sale and therefore finding the right one can be one of the most important things you do.
They will ultimately see your sale through to the end from a legal standpoint and help you through the often daunting conveyancing process dealing with the Land Registry, Stamp Duty, transfer of funds as well as providing legal advice and the compiling and exchanging contracts.
How to choose the right solicitor
Choosing a solicitor should be one of the first tasks when budgeting to buy a house and with most things in the process it pays to get this done early. There is no point in finding your dream house if you are not in a position to buy so sorting your mortgage, solicitor and so on should be your first step before you start house hunting.
Losing out on buying a house because a link in the chain has fallen through can be extremely frustrating, more so when it’s your chain and even more so when it’s down to your solicitor not following the legal process properly.
To avoid this and to find the right solicitor Emoov have provided some of our top tips:
• Word of mouth: Ask your parents or friends for a tried and tested solicitor they may have used for the buying or selling of a house.
• Industry specific: Use a solicitor that specialises in property, may seem like common sense but you would be surprised.
• Estate agent recommendations: More often than not an estate agent will be working in partnership with a solicitor and recommend their services. This doesn’t necessarily mean their good or bad but don’t feel obliged to take this recommendation. A sensible approach is to ask for a quote and then use this as a benchmark when shopping around.
• Price: This is dependent on the property transaction and work involved as well as the pricing structure of the solicitor. Some solicitors will charge a percentage fee of the property value, not to unlike a traditional estate agent, whereas others will charge a one off fee. In the latter case it pays to check what your one of fee covers you for, as additional costs may be added for unforeseen circumstances. By budgeting (link to budget) prior to your house hunt you should avoid any surprise charges scuppering your purchase.
• Find the right balance: Although buying a house may be of extreme importance to you, a large solicitors firm may be too busy to dedicate themselves 100% fully to your purchase. A smaller or less experienced firm may lack in conveyancing experience and might not be best placed to handle your purchase. Finding a balance between the two will ensure you get the expertise you need but also the commitment and attention to detail. Again the best way to decide is to shop around and get a number of quotes before making your decision.
• When considering a solicitor tell them your proposed or ideal completion date and ask them if they are able to work to this time scale or not. Although this date will most likely change it gives you a good indication of how dedicated they can remain to your property purchase.
• Look local: When searching for the best quote people often overlook using a solicitor local to the area they wish to move. Although advances in technology have rendered traditional estate agents and their ‘local knowledge’ obsolete, there is still much to be said for the knowledge of a local area possessed by a solicitor. For example any local laws of the land or surveys (link to budget) that are geographically specific to that particular area and could prevent your purchase going through, or come back to bite you at a later date once you have moved in. On top of this with the majority of transactions being dealt with via the internet or phone, it can still be nice to have a local office to visit should you need advice or want to hurry them along.