Before anything can happen with your purchase, you need to find the right conveyancing solicitor London for you, and then instruct them to begin the conveyancing process.

It is a good idea to speak to family or friends to see if they have a solicitor they can recommend. Alternatively, you could seek the services of an online conveyancing service, which are generally cheaper. They have the advantage of providing online case management systems, and online document verification and signing, which can often speed up the process.

Important questions to ask a conveyancing solicitor before instructing them include:

  • How much will you charge?

You’d be surprised by the number of people who fail to ask this simple question at the outset. Most conveyancing quotes include third party costs, also called ‘disbursements’, such as the cost of Local Authority searches, stamp duty, or bank transfer fees. If a quote seems a little on the low side, it may be that the disbursements have not been included. Ask for an itemised quote so you can see what the conveyancer’s time actually costs.

  • Who will handle my case?

Whilst the most experienced solicitor may provide the quote, it will often be that a more junior member of the team will actually work on your case. Straightforward sales and purchases should be pretty standard for a newly qualified solicitor or paralegal to handle. That said, it’s important to know who is working on your case so you know who to contact and you can build a relationship with them.

  • How often will I hear from you?

There are very few things in life that are worse than radio silence when you are buying a home. You are naturally on tenterhooks, desperate for everything to keep to schedule and go ahead as planned. At the same time, calling your solicitor every day when they are trying to progress your case is likely to be counterproductive. This situation can be avoided by having a frank discussion at the outset of the case, setting out what is reasonable and when you can expect to hear from your solicitor.

  • What costs will I have to pay if my sale falls through?

It is possible to find solicitors that offer ‘no move, no fee’, however you should double check what that actually means in practice. Does it mean that you will still need to pay disbursements, for example?

  • Is the conveyancing solicitor approved by your mortgage provider?

Sadly, many mortgage providers will only work with solicitors that are on their approved list, although most conveyancing referral services ask this upfront so you don’t end up with having to reject a conveyancing solicitor. You can still choose to instruct a conveyancer that is not approved, although you will need to pay extra for this and the costs can quickly add up.

  • When do I need to pay the conveyancing fees?

Some solicitors require payment upon exchange, others when you complete. You may be asked to pay a deposit at the start, and you may be required to pay for disbursements as and when they crop up. This varies between firms, so make sure you find out when payment is expected.

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