03 June 2016

Tips for finding the right conveyancer

A good conveyancer can make all the difference to your property buying experience. They’ll keep you informed and support you during what can be a busy and stressful time. Similarly, an uncommunicative, disorganised conveyancer can make the process drag on needlessly.

But how do you find the right one for the job? And is it better to choose a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer? We take a closer look.

Why do you need a conveyancer?

A conveyancer handles the legal side of buying and selling your home – transferring the ownership of the property to you or your buyers. They’ll manage contracts, offer legal advice, carry out searches, deal with the Land Registry and transfer the funds to pay for your property.

The job involves handling lots of paperwork which needs to be completed accurately and on time, otherwise it can delay the sale or even result in it falling through.

You can use either a solicitor or a conveyancer to handle your conveyancing.

Solicitor vs Conveyancer

  • Solicitors are fully-qualified lawyers and can offer full legal services
  • Licensed conveyancers will have less formal training but specialise in property.

If your transaction is straightforward, you should be able to use whichever option you prefer, but there are some situations where a fully-qualified solicitor is necessary, for example if a lease extension is included as part of the purchase or if there are any boundary disputes.

Solicitors tend to be more expensive than conveyancers.

Tips for finding a conveyancer

Whether you are happy using a conveyancer or would prefer the legal expertise of a solicitor, you still need to find the right professional for your needs. Here are a few top tips:

  • Ask for recommendations – The best way to find a reliable conveyancer is to go by recommendation. Ask your friends and family members if they can suggest any firms to consider or avoid. If you don’t know anyone who’s moved recently, ask your estate agent or financial advisor, but remember, they may receive commission for passing business to specific firms

  • Get quotes – The cost of conveyancing services can vary dramatically so it’s well worth getting a number of quotes. Remember though, cheapest doesn’t always equal best. Check that the quote is for the whole service and there are no hidden costs

  • Consult your mortgage provider– Mortgage lenders typically only deal with solicitors and conveyancers who are on their approved panel and you may incur extra charges if you want to use someone else

  • Check their credentials – Solicitors must be members of the Law Society and ideally they should also be part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme. Conveyancers must belong to the Council for Licenced Conveyancers

  • Check for local options – Good communication is key to a good conveyancing experience, so it can help to use someone local so you can pop into the office if needs be. This can also save you time when it comes to posting out documents

  • Consider online – An online conveyancer might suit you if you’re looking for someone you can contact round the clock and you’re happy to deal with them by phone and email only

  • Check their availability – If your conveyancer isn’t available when you need them it can hold things up significantly. Check if they have any holidays booked when you think your sale might be progressing and ask if there’s anyone who will step in if they are absent for any reason.

Moving house?

Our guides to buying and owning property can help you through the whole process, from start to finish.

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