There are a number of ways to find a conveyancer or solicitor who will be able to assist you with buying your home. One of the quickest ways is via the internet. There are a number of websites, e.g. the Law Society website and Yellow Pages online which provide details of firms that undertake conveyancing.
You can also ask around friends and family to see if they have recently used a solicitor or conveyancer and whether they would recommend them. This is a particularly good way to find someone to represent you since you know that they have been tried and tested, so to speak.
It is important to consider a number of factors before formally instructing a firm to represent you in relation to your house purchase.
What will the Solicitor/Conveyancer charge for the work?
You should be given a costs estimate during your initial consultation or in the initial client care letter. The conveyancer’s costs are different from disbursements so you should make sure you are given a breakdown of all the costs involved including disbursements. Some firms say they will undertake the work for a fixed fee. You should check your client care letter carefully to see whether this is in fact the case or whether additional costs will be added in certain circumstances. For example, if the matter proves to be more complicated than previously thought or there is a substantial amount of non-routine correspondence, additional costs may be added on to the final bill. In any event you should be warned of this in writing beforehand.
Location of Solicitor/Conveyancer
Is the conveyancer or solicitor based near the property you intend to purchase? Do they have local knowledge of the area? There may be specific searches that will need to be undertaken given the nature of the area in which the property is based so a solicitor with local knowledge would be better.
Who will be dealing with the matter?
Would you prefer a senior or more junior conveyancer or solicitor dealing with your matter? You should bear in mind that someone of partner level would generally charge greater fees than someone more junior. Will you have one fee earner dealing with the matter? You should be informed from the outset of this. It is more desirable having one person dealing with the case as opposed to a few since this will ensure continuity and will avoid matters being overlooked due to a change in fee earner.
Also, if you are purchasing a property where there are slightly more unusual aspects involved, e.g. a lease extension is required or the property is unregistered, then you may wish to ask for a fee earner with a higher level of expertise.
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