Buying a house is one of the most expensive - and stressful - processes that you’re likely to be involved in. Ensuring that you have a competent, trustworthy and client-centered conveyancing solicitor can make all the difference to the process - and your stress levels.
Many people, however, simply appoint a conveyancing solicitor based upon the recommendations of their estate agent. This choice may be made because at the time it seems like the easy option or may even be made because of pressure applied by the estate agent. Anxious not to lose their ‘dream home’, homebuyers may often go along with their recommendations even if they are getting a worse deal or even if that firm is not local to them.
What, then, are the three main reasons why an estate agent may recommend a specific solicitor?
- They have an agreement with a certain firm in which referral fees are made (which subsequently may be added to your bill).
- They are a part of a chain of agents whose staff are incentivised to encourage you to use in-house conveyancing firms.
- They have a good working relationship with a local solicitor and have confidence they will give them up to date progress reports on the process.
Both the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) and Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) recommend though that rather than simply accepting a recommendation from an estate agent, you should have the chance to choose your own solicitor. Here are some things to consider to ensure you get the best deal:
- Is the potential firm ‘Lexcel accredited’? Lexcel is the Law Society’s quality mark and indicates that you will receive personal, high quality, client-centered care.
- Is the potential firm local to you? If you are buying a house in or around Wisbech or March, for example, look for a solicitor in Wisbech or March. They are likely to have special knowledge of the area, be easily accessible to you and easily reachable if you need anything throughout the process.
- Do you get a good feel for your potential conveyancing solicitor? If during your initial approach you are not made to feel important to them, and that they will put your needs first, the chances are that you will not receive great service. Look for a solicitor that will always put your needs first.
Ensure you're comfortable with your choice and if you feel like your estate agent is pressurising you, feel free to mention the SRA and CLC recommendations - that usually does the trick in stopping any undue pressure!
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