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How to choose a solicitor for conveyancing

Finding a good conveyancing solicitor will make the process of buying and selling your property run much more smoothly. But how do you find a really good solicitor to handle your conveyancing?

What is conveyancing?

Put simply, conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.

What does a solicitor do?

Your solicitor will handle all of the following on your behalf during the sale and purchase of a property:

• Carry out a wide range of searches including Local Authority, environmental and drainage
• Handle the contracts
• Give legal advice
• Deal with the Land Registry
• Calculate Stamp Duty
• Deal with all disbursements and transfers of money

Why choose a solicitor for conveyancing?

A specialised conveyancer only deals in property law. If complex legal issues arise during the sale of the property, then a solicitor will have the legal training to deal with them. If the sale is likely to be complicated, then using a solicitor is the best choice.

How can I make sure I get the best solicitor?

Most of us ask friends and family for recommendations when we’re looking for a solicitor, but there are specialist organisations who can help you to make the right choice:

• Your mortgage broker or lender may be able to recommend a solicitor
• Your estate agent generally has preferred solicitors that they work with – be aware that this can be an expensive option
• Check that any recommended solicitor is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales

How much should I pay?

The cost of a good solicitor will vary, but always ask to see a full breakdown of fees so you can compare quotes like for like. If possible negotiate a fixed no sale, no fee agreement so you don’t pay out if the sale falls through.

Other considerations

• Don’t make your decision purely on cost – any mistakes in the conveyancing process can cost you dearly later
• Good local knowledge – this can be important if the sale includes leases or arrangements unique to your area
• Try to use a solicitor who has time to do the best possible job – check they won’t be going on holiday and leaving your house conveyancing to a junior.

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