When to appoint a conveyancing solicitor
There is no hard-and-fast rule about when to appoint a conveyancing solicitor.
If you are selling a property then you can appoint a solicitor as soon as you decide to put the property on the market. Your solicitor will ask you to complete various property information forms which will be disclosed to the buyer’s solicitors as part of the conveyancing procedure.
However, if you have to wait a long time until you get an acceptable offer, there is a risk that the information on those forms will be out of date and so they will have to be re-done. This may increase your costs. So it is probably safer to wait until you have a firm and accepted offer for your property and then appoint your solicitor.
If you are looking to buy a property, and particularly if you intend to apply for mortgage finance, then it might be best practice to appoint your conveyancing solicitor early on in the process. There is an increasing trend among property owners to only agree terms with buyers who already have their mortgage finance approved in principle. If you are buying with cash, this is not an issue for you. But if you require a mortgage, you will have a much better chance of having your offer accepted if you already have your finance approved.
Quite often banks will want to know which solicitor you intend to appoint to act for you and so it may be advisable to appoint your conveyancing solicitor before you even apply for the mortgage finance. However, this is not essential and you can appoint your solicitor afterwards.
Again, it is not necessary to have appointed your solicitor before you make an offer on a property. But, the owner of the property is likely to take your offer more seriously if you have appointed your conveyancing solicitor already.
So, while there are no specific rules about this, it is probably a good idea for property buyers to appoint their solicitor early on in the process. If you are seeking mortgage finance, then it is also best to check with your solicitor that their firm is on the prospective lender’s panel of approved solicitors.