Buying or selling a home in the UK takes a lot of time, knowledge, and expertise. If you’re new to the conveyancing process, local authority searches on the property, drafting of contracts and exchange may be daunting to you.
You need a licensed property solicitor or a conveyancer to help when conveyancing in the UK. A conveyancing solicitor has the training and qualification to take you through the conveyancing.
But how exactly do you appoint and instruct a conveyancing solicitor in the UK? Here is how you can make appointing a conveyancing solicitor a walk in the park.
Also read: Can You Change Conveyancing Solicitors?
Why do you need a conveyancing solicitor?
Conveyancing is the legal process of changing property ownership from the seller to the buyer or the process of getting a mortgage approved when buying property.
Immediately you get an offer approved or accepted for sell of property, the estate agent involved in the chain will request that you provide the contact and details of your property solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.
Also read: How Long Does Conveyancing Take?
A conveyancer is essential when you’re buying or selling a property because they will:
- Offer you legal advice when buying or selling property
- Handle drafting and exchange of contracts
- Do due diligence on the property
- Ensure your mortgage lender has all relevant information about the property you’re buying
- Conduct all relevant local authority searches and survey
- Remain in contact with the Land Registry throughout the conveyancing
- Arrange for and optimise the transfer of fees and payment between parties involved
Getting a property solicitor when buying or selling property is essential. In most cases, solicitors are more expensive than licensed conveyancers. This is because conveyancers are trained lawyers and can cover all the legal aspects of conveyancing.
A conveyancer, on the other hand, specialises in property and cannot handle some of the complex legal issues in the conveyancing process.
Also read: No Sale No Fee Conveyancing Solicitors
Find out about the fees
When appointing a conveyancing solicitor, you should find out the fees they will likely charge you. This way, you can avoid surprises when buying property. Since there is no exact scale of disbursement fees, conveyancers and solicitors will likely charge different fees. Therefore, you should compare conveyancers and solicitors based on fees charged before settling on one.
Some questions you should be asking on cost and fees include:
- Ask the conveyancer if they are charging fixed fees or if more fees are added when more work is involved in the conveyancing.
- Find out if the conveyancer’s fee includes VAT and expenses.
- Find out any further charges that will be made if the sale of a property fails before the exchange of contracts.
In most cases, conveyancers include disbursement fees on their estimated quotes. Such fees include Stamp Duty and local authority search.
If the fees are a bit low, the conveyancer may not have included the disbursement and other third-party payments in the conveyancing. Therefore, you should ask the conveyancing solicitor for an itemised quote to see how much the conveyancer charges for their time.
Additionally, when appointing a conveyancing solicitor, you should be able to compare the fees they charge and the quality of service. The legal process is the most important when buying, selling, or remortgaging a home.
It means the legal process should be managed professionally to avoid any issues arising in the future, which may cost you the contract. You should not compromise the quality of service with affordability.
What to ask when appointing a conveyancing solicitor
Here are the questions you should ask a conveyancing solicitor before you can appoint them for the task ahead:
- Do you offer a fixed fee? With fixed fees, you can be confident the conveyancer will not be charging any extra amount when new issues arise in your conveyancing. You don’t know how complex the conveyancing will be at the start, so you should find out the fees in advance.
- Do you offer no move no fee to your clients? A money-back guarantee can be helpful when issues arise during the searches. Ask your conveyancing solicitor if they will refund you some money if the purchase does not go through.
- Who will handle my case? If you appoint a law firm for your conveyancing, you should ask them who exactly will be handling your case. If you are handling a complex case like leasehold, you should ask to be appointed an experienced solicitor.
- How often will you be communicating? When appointing a conveyancing solicitor, you should ask them how often you should expect updates. The solicitor should be able to reach out to you throughout the conveyancing process.
- Are you accredited? A qualified conveyancing solicitor should be a member of the Law Society of England and Wales. They should also be members of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), responsible for setting regulations and standards in the property industry.
- Does a mortgage lender approve you? Working with a conveyancer not approved by your mortgage lender will cost you a lot of extra charges. Find out if the conveyancing solicitor you appoint is approved first before instructing them.
- What is your grievance procedure like? You should know who you can channel your complaint to the law firm and have all your issues sorted out within time.
Also read: UK Real Estate Market Trends For 2022
Appointing a conveyancing solicitor is a vital process in ensuring you complete your property purchase in the shortest time.
When reaching out to a solicitor or a conveyancer, you should do background checks and establish whether they are fully licensed and accredited to offer such services. Find out about their legal fees, process, communication, and team. For timely completion, you should work with a reputable conveyancer in your local area.