Most people don’t buy or sell a home many times in their lives so it’s pretty understandable if you’re not an expert when it comes to selecting the best solicitor to guide you through the required conveyancing process.
Here’s some simple that’ll hopefully rapidly increase your knowledge about what to look for when you come to selecting the right solicitor for your home move.
- CQS: the marque of quality
CQS stands for Conveyancing Quality Scheme and it is a marque which the Law Society awards to solicitors who’ve demonstrated consistently high standards in carrying out conveyancing transactions, particularly with regard to customer care.
It’s therefore always a good sign when you’re looking for conveyancing solicitors and you see this next to a firm’s name!
- Beware of quotes ‘sent through the post’!
Hopefully you should rarely come across this scenario these days but it does still occur. The idea that any serious firm would send you a quote through the post when everyone uses email seems incredible and you should always view it as a red flag. If the conveyancing firm sends you an initial quote through by post, you can bet that all the other essential communications required during your conveyancing – and there are numerous of these – will also be given over to ‘snail mail’. With all its attendant delays and occasional complete losses of material posted.
The same thing can be said for any firm which still uses faxes rather than emails as its standard method of communication. It’s getting to the point where members of the younger generation don’t even know what a fax machine is. The best advice once again is to walk away…
- “I estimate….”
If you are gathering conveyancing quotes and you get an ‘I estimate…’ as an answer, you should also walk away.
It’s pretty much become standard for people to be sold conveyancing on a fixed fee basis. This is infinitely preferable to the old days of when, if a delay occurred, you’d be checking your bank balance every hour because you knew that this meant your bill would be steadily rising.
You’ll surely appreciate the peace of mind that accompanies knowing you’ve already budgeted for your conveyancing and won’t face any unexpected and huge bills at the end of the process. So the advice here is, don’t ever instruct a solicitor’s firm offering you an estimate for a quote: stick with one offering fixed fees.
- Who actually is your conveyancing solicitor?
It surely makes sense to know who’s actually going to be carrying out your conveyancing day-to-day. If all you know is the name of the solicitor’s firm, this isn’t the same. You’ll at least want to know that, if the need arose, you could speak to a named person who could answer your query, give you an update or even just give you reassurance.
So the advice here is simple: if you’re not given the name of the person who’ll be in charge of your conveyancing, it’s a good idea not to use that firm.
- Avoid conveyancing warehouses
If you don’t know what these are, I’m sure you can imagine. It’s a firm where a large number of conveyancing operatives are assembled together and each conveyancing matter is handled by a large team.
The trouble is you won’t know which person is looking after which part of your conveyancing and there’s often therefore a problem with accountability. A clear sign of a conveyancing warehouse is that you can’t ever speak to the same person about your matter.
It’s hard to see how your work will be prioritised in this arrangement and you certainly cannot expect to have a one-to-one business relationship with the same person. The chances for unnecessary delays are many.
In short – if you sense that a firm operates a conveyancing warehouse, run away!
- Check histories, reviews and testimonies exhaustively
The Internet can be a wonderful thing regarding how much you can find out about a firm’s history, if it has one, and what sort of reviews it’s received from previous (hopefully satisfied) clients. Naturally you have to treat reviews carefully these days: law firms, like any other, are becoming increasingly savvy at gaming online reviews.
The length of time that a firm has been practising for is, however, a useful piece of information. You should be wary of instructing a solicitor’s firm which has only just started practising. If a conveyancing solicitor lacks experience, they might miss something critical, which could end up costing £1,000s of pounds.
It’s still never a bad thing to seek word-of-mouth testimonies from people you know well who might approve a particular conveyancing solicitor. At a time when there’s so much information available online, the old-fashioned approach of asking people you trust still more than holds its own.
- Do you actually like the sound of the solicitor?
This last point is just as valid as those which precede it. If you feel like the solicitor you spoke to on the phone sounds rushed, like they are too busy for you and that they don’t actually care what you say then they probably don’t. You should always feel like your solicitor gives you reassurance and that they are helpful.
Ultimately you should get a strong impression that they’ll be prepared to have the time to go through the large number of queries that you’re bound to have because, rest assured, you’ll need them to do this.
By Marcus Simpson
Digital Marketing Manager
Author: Oliver Curtis
Hi there. I’m Oliver. I’m just a young boy from the outskirts of… Okay, that’s a lie, I’m not a young boy anymore, although I certainly feel that way at heart.