- 1. Check Their Regulatory Status
- 2. Consider the Fees Involved
- 3. Ask About the Fee Structure
- 4. Look at their Reputation
- 5. Question Word of Mouth Recommendations
- 6. Analyse their Ability to Communicate
- 7. Go Local
- 8. Consider Different Kinds of Conveyancers
- 9. Look at How Busy They Are
- Final Thoughts
Purchasing a new property can be one of the most exciting things you do in your lifetime. But, without the right level of preparation, it could also end up being one of the most stressful.
After all, buying a new property comes with a wide array of processes and things to think about – from the properties to view in the first place, negotiating the price with estate agents to the actual process of moving in later on.
As such, having the right people involved from the get-go can make all the difference to ensuring your house purchase goes through as smoothly as possible.
One of – if not the – most important people involved when purchasing property is the conveyancer. In their role, they are charged with working on your behalf to conduct local searches, negotiate key dates, get the contract ready for you to sign and, ultimately, transfer ownership of the home to you.
In other words, without a conveyancer, the property purchase simply wouldn’t go through. So, it pays to find a good one.
In this article, we will run through some of the key things to look out for when deciding on your property conveyancer, helping keep your purchasing process as stress-free as possible.
1. Check Their Regulatory Status
Conveyancers and solicitors are often one and the same, meaning they can sometimes have a tendency to over-promise and then under-deliver. Therefore, it’s important to do your homework before deciding on the conveyancing company you decide to use.
If, for instance, there is no mention of a conveyancer’s registration with an accrediting body, this could be a potential red flag.
Since conveyancing is such a specialist area of the law, it’s vital to only ever work with someone you can trust, equipped with the relevant experience, regulatory status and licenses to demonstrate their expertise.
2. Consider the Fees Involved
Conveyancing solicitors will all charge fees for the work they do for you and these can hugely vary depending on a wide variety of factors. Therefore, make sure you only consider conveyancers within your budget – but don’t just go for the cheapest one.
While purchasing a property will often be a trying time on your finances, choosing the right conveyancer could make or break the entire process. So it pays to budget effectively to source the best solicitor within your budget.
Moreover, when considering the fees involved, try to find out from your solicitor how much it’s going to cost in total upfront. Just because a solicitor offers a good competitive rate to sucker you in, it’s important to be wary about any potential hidden fees that could crop up later on.
3. Ask About the Fee Structure
While on the topic of conveyancer fees, it’s also a good idea to find out how your conveyancer’s fee structure operates. Ask them, for example, do they charge a fixed fee or a specific percentage of the property’s value?
The answer to this question could make a big difference as to whether you choose a particular conveyancer or not, although it will also largely depend on the total cost of the property you are looking to purchase.
However, it’s important to make sure your conveyancer is as clear and transparent with the breakdown of their fees as possible. If they sugarcoat things, use confusing legal jargon or avoid answering any fee-related questions you put to them, you should probably steer clear of using their services.
4. Look at their Reputation
In today’s day and age, reviews are everywhere. So, why not use them to your advantage?
Nearly every half-decent conveyancing company will have reviews on their Google profile when you search their name, which you can then easily sort by recency.
This, in turn, will not only give you a much better overview of what their reputation is actually like compared to the high-praise testimonials they share on their website, but it will also allow you to see how others have rated their experience of working with them.
When looking at these reviews, you should also look at how the company responds to the negative feedback they receive. If they actively respond to it, clarifying the reasons behind a specific bad review or taking ownership of the situation, this demonstrates that they care about their reputation – an important thing to consider when choosing a conveyancer.
5. Question Word of Mouth Recommendations
While on the topic of reviews and reputation, word of mouth can often be just as useful when it comes to choosing the right conveyancer – but it’s important to double-check just in case.
Estate agents, for example, will often recommend a conveyancer when you have an offer accepted on a property, framing it as helping you save both time and money. However, these recommendations are often based on a pre-existing reciprocal arrangement between the two parties, meaning it might not always be in your primary interest.
As such, try to take all word of mouth recommendations with a pinch of salt and make sure to conduct your own research to ensure they’re right for you. Most of the time, they will probably be fine but it never hurts to be cautious.
6. Analyse their Ability to Communicate
As one of the most complicated and confusing processes many people will go through, it’s vital for your conveyancer to communicate with you in a way that puts your mind at ease when purchasing a property.
The last thing you want is to spend hours on end chasing your conveyancer for an answer, trying to get some sense about when your exchange date might be or where you should return forms to.
Instead, you should priorities sourcing a conveyancer that not only clearly communicates the process with you, but also holds your hand along the way, picking up the phone whenever you need them to.
7. Go Local
While conveyancers can technically operate from anywhere in the world, opting for a solicitor with local knowledge could make a big difference.
Pretend, for example, that you are both purchasing and selling a property in London. By using a conveyancer based around the area, they will be more clued up on any potential issues that have cropped up from conducting the searches involved in previous house purchases – whether it be plans for new roads, housing developments or sewage works.
Likewise, opting for a local conveyancer could also save a lot more time. This is largely because of all the forms that need to be printed, signed and returned when purchasing a property; opting for a local conveyancer will save the time and effort of having to return everything via post, allowing you to get everything done in person instead.
8. Consider Different Kinds of Conveyancers
Whether you’re a first-time buyer, investing in a Buy-to-Let property or purchasing a commercial premises, each type of property purchase is unique in its own right.
As such, it’s worth considering whether the conveyancer works with their clients in a way that suits your own needs and has the experience required to help you most effectively.
Similarly, it’s important to think about how you want your conveyancer to work with you. Ask yourself, for example, would you rather deal with them via email, over the phone or in person?
Remember that they are the ones providing a service to you, after all, so make sure to only ever choose a firm that suits you and fits in with your way of life.
9. Look at How Busy They Are
A busy conveyancing company may sound like a good thing, but it’s important to tread with a bit of caution before signing yourself up as well.
After all, if a conveyancer has too many property purchases to focus on at one time, this could lead to things potentially slipping through the cracks.
What’s more, it will also pull their time and attention away from your specific property purchase, meaning they may not be as clued up on the latest goings on and as responsive as you’d like them to be.
However, going back to our earlier point about checking their reputation, if they haven’t been busy for a while, ask yourself why.
The key thing is to try and find as close to the perfect balance as possible – a busy, well-regarded, efficient conveyancing company that doesn’t leave you in the dark or make unrealistic promises.
Choosing the wrong conveyancer can seriously affect your property purchasing process, slowing it down by weeks or even months, and could even cause it to fall apart completely. As such, it’s vital to put the work into finding the right one for your specific circumstances.
While it may seem like there’s a lot to think about, as the old phrase goes, failing to prepare also means preparing to fail. Therefore, only by shopping around and taking your time to decide will you be able to source the best conveyancer for you.