Because conveyancing is a legal requirement, and affects the ownership of property, it is important you work with an experienced and reliable property solicitor that will ensure everything goes well.
With that in mind, here are some of the first questions you should ask your property solicitor to help assure yourself of their credentials:
How much will you charge and what does this include?
This is a very important question as most conveyancing quotes are made up of different parts: the solicitor’s basic fee, which covers time and labour, and disbursements, plus additional expenses and Stamp Duty Land tax, which are costs incurred by the solicitor and passed onto you. Bear in mind that if a quote seems very low, it may be that basic disbursements have not been included, and you’ll have to budget for these later. Either way it’s important to understand exactly what you’re being charged for.
For more information about conveyancing costs, our Solicitors Fees Explained article.
What can I do to keep things going efficiently?
Although the conveyancing process is primarily conducted between solicitors, there are some parts that will require input from you, such as signing and returning contracts. Your solicitor can advise you as to where they will require your input, and any ways you can speed up the process, for example by filling in forms in a particular way. With the conveyancing process taking between eight and twelve weeks with no delays, keeping things going efficiently is essential to a speedy and successful house move.
Who will handle my conveyancing?
Developing rapport with the solicitor handling your conveyancing case is always a good idea as you’ll be more able to discuss issues openly. However, asking this question also ensures you have an experienced and reliable solicitor working on your case. Using a newly qualified solicitor may keep costs down in the short-run, but you may decide it’s not worth the risk and would rather use a more experienced practitioner.
How will you update me and how often?
Some solicitors use old-fashioned methods – such as telephone calls and snail mail – to contact you, whilst others are turning to text messages, emails and online tracking facilities. It all depends on the company you go with, but make sure you find out before you instruct them. You should also find out how often they will update you – if you want them to update you more regularly you should ask. Some people like to know precisely what’s going on at all times, whilst others just want to be contacted at major milestones.
How many conveyancing cases have you dealt with?
This is a direct question but your solicitor will be unlikely to provide a direct answer as it will be difficult to gauge. However, what you’re looking for is a proactive response on their part, offering information as to how long they’ve been in business and examples of property types they’ve dealt with. It’s easy to get a ‘feel’ for whether a solicitor is right for you, and this question can help you find it out sooner rather than later.
Check out their feedback.
Feedback, reviews and testimonials are very good indicators of responsible service and professionalism. People are unlikely to go to the time and effort of giving positive reviews unless the service has been superior, so check out your solicitors feedback. Reallymoving.com provides a unique feedback link to everyone who has registered for a conveyancing quote and has collected many thousands of independent, validated reviews. They can be seen on our conveyancing solicitors directory.
Do you have holidays booked?
This might seem like an unusual question, but if you would like to complete between Christmas and New Year, you need to ensure the conveyancing firm is working and your conveyancer is contactable. Some firms shut over the festive period. If your conveyancer is going on holiday, ask who will be covering their workload and for their contact details.
What is your grievance procedure?
If you do your research and choose a reliable and experienced property solicitor, it’s unlikely you’ll need to follow a grievance procedure. But if you find the service you’ve received has been unsatisfactory, you’ll want to follow it up with the firm. Sometimes a call to a senior partner is all it takes to get stuff back on track, but you’ll want to know precisely how to escalate a complaint so it’s dealt with by the proper channels. Most responsible firms will outline grievance policies in the client care letter, which is sent to you just before you give formal instruction.
If you’re looking for conveyancing quotes, reallymoving.com provides up to four instant quotes from a wide network of professional and experience property solicitors located throughout the country.