Important Questions To Ask Your Conveyancing Solicitor Before You Instruct
Conveyancing is a vital part of the homebuying process and choosing the right conveyancing solicitor can make all the difference. However, the only way to find out about the quality of their service is to ask a few questions before you instruct them. Solicitor comparison site
Here is a run down of some of the most important questions to ask when you compare any potential conveyancing solicitors you may go on to instruct.
What Do You Charge?
It is probably already at the top of your list but don’t forget to compare the solicitors fees on our Solicitor comparison site. Always get a solicitor quote from several different conveyancers to ensure you’re getting a good deal, or at least, value for money. If a quote seems surprisingly low, it could be that third party costs haven’t been included – CHECK!. Ask for an itemised quote so you can see what the conveyancer’s time actually costs.
Every solicitor quote should include basic fees, disbursements and expenses. Basic fees are the general solicitors fees.
Disbursements and expenses are costs that are incurred along the way and passed onto you.
These might include:
- Local Authority Searches
- Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Land Registry
- Environmental and Local Searches.
- Expenses have VAT added and include; electronic ID verification, telegraphic transfers and shared ownership issues or new build properties.
Who Will Take On My Case?
Despite the seniority of the team members you may speak to, you’ll sometimes find it’s the junior team member who actually works on your case. This is not necessarily a bad thing; for straightforward sales the conveyancing process should be pretty straightforward and nothing a newly qualified solicitor couldn’t handle.
However, it’s important to know who is working on your case so that you can get to know how they work and, in the event you run into issues and need to speak to them. Compare solicitors here.
If your case is a little more complex (for example, when buying a listed property), you may prefer a more experienced solicitor.
How Often Should I Expect Contact?
Buying and selling properties is stressful and there is nothing worse than radio silence when you’re going through it. No updates and no calls will be extremely frustrating. At the same time, you don’t need them calling them everyday when they should be trying to progress your case.
When using our solicitor comparison site, have discussions at the start of the process about what level of communication is reasonable and when you can expect to hear from them.
Are You A Member Of Any Professional Bodies?
When you compare solicitors, choosing a regulated conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer means you can be confident that your case is handled correctly. The following regulatory bodies make sure you have some comeback should something go wrong.
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme – CQS
The CQS is run by the Law Society and accredits law firms offering residential conveyancing. It requires members to demonstrate compliance with the highest standards of professional practice. A Conveyancing Quality Scheme best practice mark acts as a strong trust factor that a particular team of conveyancing solicitors has the necessary skills and experience to provide a reliable service.
When using a conveyancing solicitor, you should also make sure that their law firm is Lexcel accredited, which is the Law Society’s general quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and client care.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority – SRA
The SRA sets the standards for all solicitors and law firms in England and Wales and establishes general principles and a code of conduct for members. They also monitor solicitors and their firms to make sure they are following the rules.
The SRA investigates complaints and, where necessary, can take regulatory action.
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers – CLC
The CLC regulates conveyancers who are not solicitors, but are specialists in conveyancing. The CLC sets education and training standards, issues licences to and maintains a register of practitioners, monitors standards, investigates allegations of misconduct and takes disciplinary action when required.
Conveyancing solicitors should be members of professional bodies such as the Law Society and the Council of Licensed Conveyancers. Check which professional body they’re a member of before appointing them.
Do I Have To Pay If The Sale Falls Through?
It’s very important, when you compare solicitors on our Solicitor comparison site to ask how much you would have to pay if the sale falls through. Some firms offer ‘no move, no fee’, but always double check what that means. For example, does it mean that you still need to pay third party costs? Do you need to get an insurance policy to be eligible for this?
It’s common for disbursements to be excluded from most ‘no sale no fee’ quotes. However, if you’re unsure whether to progress with a purchase, you can always instruct the lawyers but ask them not to incur any expenses yet, and to hold off on any searches.
Will You Be Approved By My Mortgage Lender?
Some mortgage lenders only work with the specific conveyancing solicitors on their approved panel, but most conveyancing referral services will ask this upfront so you don’t end up with a conveyancing solicitor that your lender rejects.
You can still choose to work with a firm that isn’t approved, but you’ll need to pay extra.
When Are My Fees Due?
When you get your solicitor quote, always check when you are expected to pay the bill. It could be that you must pay when you exchange, or when you complete. You may have to pay a deposit at the beginning and settle the bill for disbursements as they occur.
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