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Questions to ask your conveyancing solicitor before you instruct

Want to make sure you’re picking the best conveyancing solicitor for the job? We've got the questions you need to ask to check you've got the right firm for the job and that your sale and/or purchase go as smoothly and quickly as possible

April 12, 2018

conveyancing questions

Conveyancers are an important part of the homebuying process. A good conveyancing solicitor can help things run smoothly and get those all important keys in your hand quickly, but whether or not that’s the case largely depends on who you choose to work with and what service you get from them. And the only way to find that out is by asking the right questions before you instruct them.

1. How much will you charge?

Yes it’s a pretty obvious one but you’d be surprised how many people fail to ask this at the start of the process. It’s important to get quotes from a few different conveyancers to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Most conveyancer quotes will include third party costs (or disbursements) such as the cost of local authority searches and, of course, Stamp Duty. If the quote from one conveyancer seems surprisingly low it could be that third party costs aren’t included. Ask for an itemised quote so you can see what the cost the conveyancer’s time actually costs. Our guide How Much Should Conveyancing Fees Cost gives a breakdown of what costs to look for.

Compare conveyancing quotes based on price, customer rating and location with our free to use tool

2. Who will handle my case?

The most experienced solicitor in the firm may give you the quote but often you’ll find it’s the junior team member who actually works on your case. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For straightforward sales the conveyancing process should be pretty standard 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 build a relationship with them and, in the event you run into issues, need to speak to someone for clarification or a concern, or if your case is a little more complex (for example, buying a leasehold property where you will want to discuss restrictions and costs associated with being a leaseholder), you may prefer a more experienced solicitor. Ask for the name of the person that you will be speaking to in that instance.

3. How often will I hear from you?

Trust us, there is nothing worse than radio silence when you’re in the house buying process. You’re on tenterhooks, desperate for everything to go ahead as planned and your solicitor has suddenly gone to ground. No updates, no calls. Frustrating is an understatement. At the same time, you don’t wan to be calling everyday when they are trying to progress your case. Avoid this by having a frank discussion with your conveyancer at the start of the process about what level of communication is reasonable and when you can expect to hear from them.

4. Which bodies are you a member of?

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.

5. Have you dealt with many cases like mine?

Not all home sales are the same. Yes, there’s the run of the mill, three bedroom 1930s semi but there’s also a host of factors that can make things a little more complicated. And if your conveyancer isn’t accustomed to cases like yours it could hold the whole process up and mean you aren’t getting the level of service you need. If you’re buying a leasehold or buying a new build home, for example, you’ll be much better off opting for a solicitor who has dealt with similar properties before.

6. Where can I check feedback?

There is no better way to check a firm’s performance than by reading reviews. If your chosen firm is proud of its track record it’ll have no problem directing you to where you can find feedback from past clients.

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  1. So sorry to hear about your experiences with one of the conveyancers found via our site. We’ll look at your records and follow up with that conveyancing firm in question to see what went wrong. We log all customer complaints and have a dedicated panel management team which investigate complaints and monitor performance of the 150 firms on our panel. They can help expedite an issue at the time to get your home move completed. We’ll investigate why this didn’t happen in your case.

    Comment by Sara Hind — May 2, 2018 @ 2:39 pm

  2. I moved recently and my experince of the solicitor is not great. Worst thing was a lack of communication. In fact, I only got to speak directly to her just prior to moving day. All other attempts to talk were thwarted by her “underlings” at their office. On more than one occassion, there were errors in the documentation I was sent to sign which I picked up and pointed out to them. This is inexusable. Not impressed at all, and this was a firm on the HAO list!

    Comment by Martin — April 14, 2018 @ 7:24 am

  3. You should ask if their fees for conveyancing are based on a different ( lower) scale than those charged where litigation is part and parcel of the service they are providing.
    Independent conveyancing firms charge less as( ordinarily ) no civil or criminal representation is necessary. Where it does enter the picture an independent conveyancer always has recourse to an appropriately qualified solicitor in another firm.
    Conveyancerss working within a law firm are likely to be charging on a scale closer to that used for civil and criminal cases after all – the partners in the firm still want their share of the very considerable conveyancing revenue.

    Comment by Ron — April 13, 2018 @ 8:51 pm

  4. Thank you for this article. Had I have known the hidden pitfalls of buying a leasehold apartment I would not have purchased. Thousands of people have been let down by poor legal advice concerning leasehold tenure and are now paying a huge price for this.

    Comment by Sally mills — April 13, 2018 @ 12:17 pm

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