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All Conveyancers Are Not Created Equally…

on Tuesday, 27 February 2018.

A recent study, reported in the Law Society Gazette, shows that 43% of home-movers in the past year chose a specialist conveyancer over a local solicitor, which is an increase of 27% from just three years earlier.

With moving home ranked as one of the most stressful points of life, it is clearly sensible to entrust the legal work to a specialist. With many buyers and sellers being guided by their Estate Agent as to their choice of Conveyancer or Solicitor it is important to ensure that they are aware that whilst many large law firms may offer advice in many areas of law, they are still likely to be provided with a specialist for the particular area of law they require. After all, not all conveyancing services can be compared like for like.

Indeed, there can be many benefits for a buyer or seller in using a full service law firm, such as VWV, for their conveyancing, rather than a firm which only offers a conveyancing service.   

Complex legal issues may arise during a home move, which require the advice of a specialist in another area of law, such as litigation or planning law. With a firm only offering conveyancing, they may be ill equipped to provide their client with necessary guidance.

Property litigation is also a specialism which is needed during a conveyancing transaction. There are complex rules relating to the extension of leases, and sale of freehold buildings which include flats. Failure to comply with correct procedure can leave a buyer with financial losses and a lot of additional stress. Similarly, if there is a difficulty during the sale or purchase transaction then it is important to make sure that there is an expert on hand to advise the buyer or seller as to how best to protect their interests, and take action quickly. 

Joint ownership and Trusts are another common area in which advice is often necessary. Where parties buy property jointly it is important to set out each parties rights and responsibilities carefully otherwise this could lead to a dispute in the future. It is far better that property buyers are given the opportunity and guidance early on.

So what additional features should a buyer or seller look for, other than having a range of legal experts at their disposal, when choosing a firm to handle their conveyancing?

  • Conveyancing Quality Scheme member - means that the firm offering conveyancing have achieved the Law Society mark of excellence for the home buying process. They will have undergone strict assessments, compulsory training and random audits, and annual reviews.  These ensure high customer service standards and quality of advice.

  • Mortgage Lender approval - If you are buying a property then the mortgage lender will need to instruct a solicitor to protect their interests. If you select a Solicitor or Conveyancer who is not on your chosen lenders list of approved solicitors then this could delay your move or lead to additional costs by a third party solicitor.

  • Continuity - Ask your conveyancer what happens if they go on holiday or are unexpectedly away from the office. It is important to make sure that you have a suitably qualified and experienced staff member able to take over your matter, even at short notice. This is particularly important during busy holiday periods.

  • Recommendations - Do ask your friends, family and estate agent for a recommendation.  However, do also ask for the basis on which that recommendation is given. It is important that the recommendation is given freely, rather than as a result of an introducers or referral fee or other commercial relationship. A recommendation based on good service is always valuable!

  • Locality - Whilst many legal matters can be dealt with at a distance, you should consider whether you may need to sign documents on short notice, or if you would prefer to meet with your Solicitor to run through documents in person. Having a local office, which you are encouraged to attend, can be easier than trying to look at plans or discuss complex issues by email.

  • Transparency - A full quotation should be provided at the outset, rather than having hidden charges which crop up later in the transaction. You should be able to budget for your sale or purchase rather than have to find additional money for legal costs when you would prefer to be spending it on furnishings for your new home!

  • Rapport - It is important that you find somebody you can trust, and feel that you can speak to when you need to, you should be able to ask all the questions you need to make an informed decision. Ensure that you chose a firm where you will deal with an individual rather than a team of staff who may lack the relevant experience or qualifications to fully support you.

At VWV, we know how important buying or selling a house is. Whatever your circumstances, our friendly and experienced conveyancing solicitors are hereto support you through every step of the process of buying or selling a property.

For more information, please contact Fiona Baker, in our Residential Conveyancing team, on 01923 919 353. 

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