Where To Find A Conveyancer?
Conveyancing is the complex legal process that transfers property ownership when buying or selling a house. Conveyancing work can only be carried out by specialist property lawyers called conveyancers. Identifying and selecting the most suitable conveyancer is one of the most important decisions for those involved in property transactions. But where do you start when looking for the right conveyancer? This guide examines the options for finding quality conveyancers and provides tips for making the best choice.
The Role of a Conveyancer
Conveyancers are specialist property lawyers who handle the legal and administrative aspects when a property changes hands. Key responsibilities include:
- Performing due diligence on the property through searches
- Checking title deeds and ownership rights
- Drafting contracts and transfer documents
- Liaising between buyers, sellers and estate agents
- Ensuring funds are transferred securely
- Registering ownership changes
- Advising clients on legal issues throughout the process
Good conveyancers minimise risks, progress transactions smoothly and secure the interests of their clients. Choosing wisely is vital.
Options for Finding Conveyancers
There are several routes buyers and sellers can explore when looking for conveyancing services:
- Conveyancer directories like Solicitors.Guru
- The Law Society’s ‘Find a Solicitor’ tool
- Recommendations from estate agents
- Referrals from friends, family and other contacts
- Online reviews on Google, Facebook, Trustpilot
- Checking professional bodies like CILEx or CLC
- The conveyancer a previous seller used
- Local conveyancers active in the area
- Large national firms with conveyancing services
- Classified adverts in newspapers and magazines
Casting the net wide gives a good choice of conveyancers to research further.
Conveyancer Referrals to Treat with Caution
Whilst recommendations can provide a useful starting point, certain referrals require cautious treatment:
Estate Agent Referrals
Many buyers and sellers are referred to conveyancers by their estate agents. However, agents often have commercial arrangements with recommended firms, gaining a commission for ongoing referrals. This can skew recommendations away from firms without referral arrangements, even if they may be better suited to a client’s needs. Always research wider before choosing.
Previous Seller’s Conveyancer
It may seem expedient to use the conveyancer who handled the seller’s original purchase. However, their knowledge will be limited to that prior transaction. Unless recent and regular work has been undertaken, they may be less familiar with the current property status.
Suggestions from friends who had a positive experience can point towards quality conveyancers. However, ensure their transaction circumstances closely match your own. Their recommendation may be less relevant for different property types, values and locations.
Performing Due Diligence on Conveyancers
Once prospective conveyancers are identified, rigorous checks are vital before selection:
- Verify all recommended qualifications and professional registrations
- Check at least 5 years of experience handling similar transactions
- Review feedback from independent client testimonials
- Assess reviews on factors like responsiveness and transparency
- Compare services offered and all-inclusive fees
- Consider specialisms relevant to your property type or location
- Ask about typical timescales and communication standards
- Get details of who will personally handle the transaction
- Verify Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance
Undertaking thorough due diligence protects clients’ interests when choosing the right conveyancer.
Questions To Ask Prospective Conveyancers
Key questions to ask when interviewing potential conveyancers include:
- Are you registered with the SRA/CLC?
- How long have you been trading as a conveyancer?
- Do you specialise in property transactions like mine? Where?
- What professional qualifications do you hold?
- What is your workload and capacity currently?
- Who will personally handle my transaction?
- How many clients do you simultaneously handle?
- What are your typical conveyancing timescales?
- What factors could delay my transaction?
- What are your communication standards and methods?
- What exactly is included in your quoted fees?
- What additional disbursement costs may apply?
- Do you have Professional Indemnity insurance?
Their responses will help determine suitability for your needs and reassure you of key factors.
Red Flags to Watch For When Choosing a Conveyancer
Be wary of conveyancers demonstrating these concerning traits:
- Vague about services, qualifications and experience
- Recommended primarily due to low fees
- Rushed or aggressive sales style
- Opaque about additional costs
- Based overseas or outside your local area
- Unable or unwilling to provide past client reviews
- No listed registration with legal bodies
- Gaps evident between Google reviews
- Specialise in multiple unrelated legal areas
Such red flags could indicate inexperience, under-resourcing or potential fraud. Choosing an alternative lower-risk option is advisable.
Securing The Best Conveyancer
To secure the strongest conveyancer, focus on:
- Demonstrable expertise in handling transactions like yours
- Years of practical local property experience
- Competitive yet realistic fixed quotes
- Strong reviews for communication and progress-chasing
- Professionalism and customer service attitude
- Detailed understanding of factors affecting your property
- Advocacy on your behalf if issues arise
While conveyancing costs are important, the cheapest option may not provide the quality assurance and service needed.
Handling Conveyancing Issues
Even quality conveyancers can encounter unexpected issues like the seller lying about neighbours. It is how problems are handled that distinguishes good firms. Look for responsiveness, transparency and practical solutions to get transactions back on track. Avoid firms taking no accountability.
Whilst solicitors have traditionally provided conveyancing services, regulated licensed conveyancers now offer a quality alternative meeting Law Society standards. Both provide full, legally recognised conveyancing services. Consider both when searching for your conveyancer.
Choosing the right conveyancer is one of the most important decisions in the home buying and selling process. The conveyancer will protect your substantial financial interests. Take time to carefully research options – do not simply use the first suggested. Judge conveyancers on expertise, responsiveness and transparency. Ask detailed questions at interviews. Securing a conveyancer truly acting in your best interests provides confidence as transactions progress.
- Wider research beyond basic recommendations provides more conveyancing options.
- Carry out thorough checks on qualifications, expertise and reviews.
- Ask candidates key questions at interviews to directly compare.
- Avoid conveyancers with red flag issues like vagueness on fees.
- Look for genuine expertise, realistic pricing and great communication.
- The right conveyancer reliably safeguards your property interests.