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How do you find a good lawyer for moving house?

When you are buying or selling a house you will need to engage a solicitor or a conveyancer.  But with so many options on the market (and internet), how do you find a good lawyer for moving house?

While choosing the best lawyer may seem like just another job with so much else to worry about as you prepare to move, making the right choice will make the difference between your transaction running as smoothly as possible and it becoming unnecessarily protracted or difficult.

This is why it is absolutely essential you do everything you can to make the best possible choice and why we thought it would be useful to share a few of the tips we’ve learned in this blog.

What is conveyancing?

If conveyancing is a new term to you, it is simply the term used for undertaking the legal work involved in a property sale, purchase, re-mortgage, or lease extension.

Your conveyancer or solicitor will deal with the Land Registry, draw up the necessary contracts, oversee the transfer of the monies involved in the transaction and ensure the legal ownership of the property is transferred correctly.

How do you find the right conveyancing solicitor?

As experienced conveyancing lawyers we would suggest that when you are looking to find a good lawyer or conveyancer for moving house you should:

1. Ask for referrals

Ask your friends and family for their recommendations.  Who have they used?  Who was good?  And who should you avoid?

You can also ask your lender, estate agent, mortgage broker or IFA.  They will know very well who locally is good and, again, who you should probably avoid.

2. Use the internet

Go online to find out who is available locally but more importantly to read reviews and check their Google ratings and Trust Pilot reviews.

A highly regarded and experienced firm will also display testimonials from happy clients on their website.  Make sure these are accessible and back up what you have read/heard about the firm.  If they are not displayed on the site, ask if some could be sent by email.

Property solicitors are also now legally bound to be totally transparent with their pricing, so your online searches should also be used to compare prices.

3. Check their credentials

Make sure your solicitor is in possession of all the relevant professional accreditations.

These should include being a member of the  Law Society of England and Wales, the Council for Licenced Conveyancers or the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. Also the firm should ideally be a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.

4. Make sure you can communicate easily with them

Make sure you can communicate with your solicitor or conveyancer throughout your transaction.   The cheaper the fee, the less personal the service is likely to be and although almost all your communication will be via email and the phone, you will need a named contact and direct contact details for them.

You don’t want to find you are sent into a call centre scenario staffed by people who don’t know you every time you need an answer.

5. Ask what they’ll do to make sure your transaction is as easy as possible

When you call your shortlist of prospects, ask them how they will provide the required level of service.

What happens if someone goes on holiday?

What happens if someone goes off ill (a very real threat at the moment)?

Do they have the strength in depth to maintain the required level of service and will those covering your files know your files?

6. Should you go local?

While being local used to be an important selection criterion when it came to having to find a good solicitor for moving house, it isn’t any more.  As long as a firm can provide a named contact, direct contact details and satisfactorily answer your questions regarding service and delivery, location is arguably not as important as it once was.

However, there is still a lot to be said for ‘going local’ as a transaction will always be easier if the solicitor, lender, and agent all know each other and know how to work with each other.

Are you looking to find a good lawyer for moving house?  If you’re planning to move in the near future and would like us to share our credentials, experience, testimonials, local knowledge and what we’ll do to make sure you enjoy the best possible service while you buy or sell your home, please email me at Jeremy.Tulloch@collinshoy.com or call me on 0208 515 6600.