How to compare a conveyancing solicitor with another

Comparing Conveyancing Solicitors

We would like to offer you some practical help on finding the right solicitor to undertake your conveyancing work.

It depends on how you are going to go about finding a solicitor or licensed conveyancer in the first place. We use the term solicitor but this could be a licensed conveyancer instead.

Local Solicitors

You may not have dealt with any of these yourself, but perhaps your family or friends have had cause to use a local solicitor in the past.

Here are our tips:

  • You should firstly make a list of say 6 firms that include conveyancing as a service.
  • You would be better off trying to obtain some reviews about them before you go to the trouble of obtaining a quotation from them.
  • Ask your friends or relatives too as to which solicitors they could recommend to you.
  • Use Social Media and ask your Facebook buddies if they can make recommendations.
  • Search the web and look at the quality of their websites to get a view as to how they have invested in IT.
  • See if you can get a direct conveyancing quote by using their website.

Internet Solicitors

Using the Internet you can find a solicitor or conveyancing service.

There tends to be three types of result you will get back when using the web.

  1. A listing from a genuine bona-fide solicitor in your area and outside of your area.
  2. A listing from a conveyancing panel site.
  3. A misleading listing where the business are just trying to get your contact details so that they can pass your details on to a cold-caller type business.

Note: You will also get results from 'paid ads' where these companies pay to be on the most prominent positions of search engines like Google so you will get a result even if the business is not remotely in your are. Not a problem if you don't mind not using a local solicitor but useless if you really want to keep it local and personal.

When we talk about 'panel solicitors' this is the term we use to describe a group of independent non-related firms across the UK who have agreed to have their firm listed as a panel member with the aim of winning your business. This usually creates high volumes of work for these panel firms who often discount their usual fees to offer panel clients a competitive discounted price.

The main problem with Internet services is that be it a panel or a single service outlet i.e. a listing that appears to be a conveyancing service but it is being provided by a solo firm rather than a panel, is that you will not always, or rarely, be able to locate a solicitor near to your home town, particularly if you live anywhere south of Luton as lower down from here and approaching London and beyond you are experiencing premium property rentals and salary costs.

Things to Look Out For

Cost is an obvious one. If you have six quotes they could be markedly varied so start with the cheapest and take a look at the inclusions.

Transparency is a problem. Some quotes will be low and this will be because they have deliberately left things out like HM Land Registry filing fees which are listed as possible extras. They are actually definite must have's more like as the filing fee is unavoidable so look for obvious signs that your quote will not stay static and fixed by looking at the pricier quotes which are probably all-inclusive and fair compared to the cheaper misleading items.

Also look for a 'no complete no fee' guarantee. A high proportion of cases breakdown.

Reasons why cases break down and don't complete:

  • Because the chain collapses because a link becomes broken.
  • Because of an adverse survey on the property you are buying.
  • Inability to obtain required level of mortgage finance.
  • People change their minds and decide to stay where they are.
  • Relationship breakdowns.
  • Gazumping.
  • Properties taken off market.
  • Probate difficulties.

If your solicitor offers a 'no complete no fee' guarantee you will not be charged for any or most of the legal hours expended ny the solicitor. You will only be charged for any expenses already incurred such as search fees etc.

Stamp Duty disclosure is another thing to watch out for. It is payable if you are a purchaser (subject to rules) and it really bumps the overall cost of your house purchase up, but if the costs is not disclosed and omitted it makes a higher priced quote which does include it look bad.

Also look for a declaration or list of items that could be applied if applicable in exceptional circumstances. We believe an honest quote would make you aware of these things.

An example of such an exceptional circumstance might be where a second mortgage is in place on the property and therefore an extra fee would be payable to redeem the extra mortgage. This information would not have been gathered initially, especially if it was an Internet quotation so the extra charge would need to be applied.

It is up to you how you go about obtaining your quotation but hopefully the above information will be of use to you when obtaining a quote.