Does my conveyancing solicitor need to be local?
Samuel from Fleet
Legal questions and answers
I am selling my home after living there for 24 years and have been given a quote by my estate agent for the conveyancing, but it does seem rather expensive. After a bit of research on the internet I have obtained some alternative solicitors’ quotes for selling my home, but none of them are located near to where I live. Can I still use them if they aren’t local and what are the benefits of sticking with a local service?
A solicitor’s local knowledge of the area is always something that could prove to be useful and of a benefit to you in your sale, however, conveyancing is very widely done across the country by solicitors/conveyancers for clients as a personal knowledge of the area is not specifically required.
The conveyancer acting for you in your sale will obtain evidence of your title from a central Land Registry portal and this is what a buyer’s conveyancer will use to check and prove title, again they may not be located locally to the property in question. Your personal knowledge will inevitably always be called on.
With regards to having documents signed and contact with you, don’t be worried if your solicitor/conveyancer is not local to you as again it is quite normal that all documents are sent to clients via post/email/phone as opposed to historically having clients in to the office for attendance meetings. This has speeded up the conveyancing progress and also helps to meet clients’ expectations in line with clients’ busy lifestyles and work commitments. This has also allowed conveyancing to be carried out on English properties where clients live abroad.
It should also be noted that the cheapest quote is not always the best service and reputation and recommendations do hold weight, you should also ensure the cheaper quote includes everything at the outset. The estate agents will probably have a referral agreement with the solicitors they are recommending to you, who will pay them an instruction fee per referral, this is very common and helps firms to build relationships with each other and clients.
If you decide to use a solicitor recommended by your estate agent, then remember to ask the estate agent how much they are receiving as a referral fee. If the estate agent cannot tell you, then ask the solicitor to tell you what they have paid the estate agent in referral fees. You may be shocked to learn that some estate agents receive £100s for a referral. Here is a little more information about referral fees.