Conveyancing solicitors are an important part of the home buying process, which is why it's crucial to select one that suits your needs. A good conveyancing solicitor can help you securely purchase the property of your dreams, but this mostly depends on who you choose and what services that person provides. In order to find out, you have to ask the right questions before hiring. To help you out with this, we thought it would be useful to put together a list of questions that you should ask a conveyancing solicitor before choosing to work with them. If this is something that you’re interested in, read on for eight important questions to ask your conveyancing solicitor.
How Much Will They Charge?
For many people, getting a conveyancing quote is simply a means of finding out how much they will have to pay in total when it comes to buying or selling a home. It's important to get quotes from a few different conveyancing solicitors in order to ensure you're getting the best deal. Most conveyancing fees include disbursements, which cover fees for third-party searches and for buying or selling a house. If a quote seems surprisingly low, it could be that legal fees are not included in the quote; you should talk with your solicitor about the cost of their time before you choose a solicitor. It's best to ask for an itemised quote so you can see exactly what it will cost you to have your documents handled by the solicitor.
Who Will Handle Your Case?
The most experienced salesperson at the firm may give you the quote, but often you find it’s a young apprentice who does the actual work on your case. This is not necessarily bad. For straightforward sales, the process of selling a home is pretty standard and should not require a vast amount of experience.
It can be helpful to know the names of the people you will be communicating with in your case so that you can build a relationship. A more experienced solicitor may be better suited to address a more complicated case, such as when buying a leasehold property and you want to discuss restrictions and costs associated with being a leaseholder.
How Often Will You Be Hearing From Them?
Time seems to slow down when you’re in the house buying process. You’re on tenterhooks, desperate for everything to proceed smoothly. During this time, nothing is worse than your solicitor going silent. No updates, no calls. When your buying process has not been updated in a while, it can be a stressful experience. To avoid this frustration, have a frank discussion with your solicitor at the start of the process and ask about the solicitor's communication protocol. Your conveyancer may also have an online electronic case management system to help you keep track of the overall progress.
Have They Worked On Cases Like Yours?
Home sales aren’t always simple and straightforward. Yes, there’s the run of the mill, three-bedroom, 1930s semi-detached house, but more often than not, there are many factors that can make things more complex. If your solicitor is not used to handling these types of cases, then it could hold up the whole process—and mean you’re not getting the level of service you need. If you’re purchasing a leasehold or a new build property, for example, you’ll be much better off with a solicitor who has worked with similar properties in the past.
Are They Approved by Your Mortgage Lender?
Many mortgage lenders will only work with mortgage solicitors that are on their approved list (otherwise known as a lender panel). However, most mortgage referral agencies will ask potential clients at the beginning of the process if they work with an approved mortgage solicitor. If you want to work with a different mortgage solicitor that is not on the list, you’ll have to pay extra fees, and you might find yourself having to do more paperwork.
What Is Their Procedure for Disputes?
It’s always a good idea to prepare for the worst-case scenario, so it’s important to ask about dispute resolution policies and procedures. This way, you’ll be prepared if you need to raise an issue. If a firm doesn’t have a clear procedure or if their conveyancing solicitor is unsure of how to handle a situation, this should raise a red flag.
Will You Need to Provide Proof of Identification?
The purchase of a house involves hundreds of thousands of pounds, so conveyancers are particularly at risk of being fraud victims. Identity confirmation is part of their job to verify that a client is who they say they are. This involves examining photographic ID and evidence of the client's residence at the correspondence address provided. A conveyancer will also ask for proof as to how the client has acquired the money being used to buy the property, to prove that it is not being stolen.
Solicitors, like most organisations that handle lots of client money, are considered high-risk according to the Money Laundering Regulations. Because of this, they are legally required to check their clients’ identities in order to protect themselves against mortgage fraud and money laundering.
What Costs Do You Have to Pay If the Sale Falls Through?
It’s important to ask your conveyancing solicitor about the cost of a sale that falls through. You can ask them about ‘no move, no fee’ options, but make sure that you find out what this means in reality.
Does the firm cover third party costs?
Do you have to pay for an insurance policy in order to qualify for ‘no move, no fee’, and if so how much will the premiums cost?
These are all important questions that you need to ask your conveyancer.
It’s common for disbursements (the cost of searches and out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the firm) to be excluded from most ‘no sale no fee’ quotes. However, if you’re unsure whether you want to ask the lawyers to do the work yet – say, if you are still finalizing financing or waiting for survey results – ask the lawyers to hold off on any searches and disbursements, and to tell you exactly how much you would owe them if you proceed with a purchase.
We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you hire the right conveyancer. It’s best to be thorough about this as working with the right conveyancer can make the entire process infinitely easier for you. Be sure to keep everything you’ve learned here in mind so that you can make the most informed decisions possible.
If you’re on the hunt for instant online conveyancing quotes in the UK to help with your journey, Conveyancing Calculator has got your back. Whether you’re purchasing a home, moving, or selling a property, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website and use our calculator today!