Once you’ve accepted an offer on your property your estate agent will usually ask you for details of the solicitor you’ve chosen to act on your behalf in your house move.
This may be the first time you’ve ever needed a solicitor, so it might seem simpler to rely on the estate agent’s recommendation or a google search. After all, it doesn’t matter which solicitor you choose, as they all do the same job….don’t they?
Actually, it does matter. In fact, your choice of solicitor can make a huge difference to how smoothly your move goes, as well as your stress levels!
Here are five things to ask when choosing a solicitor:
- Are you paying a referral fee to my estate agent?
Some solicitors pay referral fees to estate agents, so just because your agent recommends a law firm, it might not mean they’re the right firm for you. It could simply be that your estate agent is receiving a financial payment from that firm for referring you to them.
- What is the total cost likely to be?
When you ask for a quote for legal fees, make sure you request a comprehensive breakdown of all the payments that you will be required to make. Ideally this should include fees payable to third parties for searches, bank and Land Registry and any additional legal fees charged for leasehold, Help to Buy or shared ownership properties. Sometimes things do come to light during a transaction that requires further work and might result in additional costs, but you need as clear an indication as possible at the outset of the likely cost of your move based on the information available at the time.
- How will you keep me up-to-date with progress?
Moving house is stressful enough without having to chase your solicitor for updates on where your sale or purchase is up to. You need to feel confident that your chosen representative is keeping the process moving efficiently and keeping you informed every step of the way.
- Will I be able to speak to you direct if I have questions or problems relating to my move?
You need your solicitor to be accessible, taking your calls and answering your emails promptly. Dealing with solicitors who won’t take your calls or where you feel like a number, rather than an individual, can be a real source of stress and frustration.
- Are you recognised by The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme?
This scheme provides a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices. Membership demonstrates that your chosen firm follows best practice, meets the required standards of technical expertise and client service and is able to satisfy regulators, lenders and insurers.
Not all sales and purchases are straightforward and if complications arise, you need to be sure that your solicitor has got the expertise to steer you through any potential problems or barriers.
At Beswicks Legal we are here to take care of all the legal aspects of your house move, so that you can concentrate on the practicalities of ensuring a smooth move. We keep you up-to-date from start to finish, so you always know what to expect. No nasty surprises, just the very best legal advice delivered in plain English.