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How to Find a Solicitor

Whether buying or selling your home, choosing the right solicitor or conveyancer is crucial. They’ll oversee the legal side of the process, from handling contracts to transferring the property ownership. This guide explores the difference between the two professions and offers tips on finding the right one for you.

What is the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?

Solicitors operate under the Solicitors Regulation Authority, while conveyancers operate under the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. Both are fully regulated and insured, but there is a key difference.

Solicitors are qualified lawyers who can offer a wider range of legal services, making them more expensive. Licensed conveyancers are specialist property lawyers focusing mainly on residential transactions.

What do solicitors or conveyancers do?

Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring the ownership of a property, whether buying or selling it. Solicitors and conveyancers will:

• Handle contracts
• Offer legal advice
• Conduct local council searches
• Liaise with the Land Registry
• Transfer the property ownership

How to find the right solicitor or conveyancer

Finding a good solicitor or conveyancer plays an important role in the homebuying process. Below are our top tips on choosing the right specialist for your unique situation.

1. Compare fees

Solicitors and conveyancers may charge a fixed fee, a percentage of the property price or by the hour. We recommend getting quotes from three different firms to compare costs. These should include charges for:

• Local searches
• Bank transfers
• Land Registry fees
Stamp Duty, Land Transaction Tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (where applicable)
• Other costs, including postage and courier services
• Additional costs if the work is more complex than expected

2. Check that your solicitor is on your lender’s panel

If you’re taking out a mortgage, ensure your solicitor is on your mortgage lender’s panel. Lenders usually only deal with certain solicitors who pay them for their privilege at the end of the sale.

If your solicitor isn’t on their panel, you may need to pay for the bank’s representation fees – typically around £200.

3. Establish good communication

Buying or selling your home can be a daunting process, so communication is vital. We recommend:

• Checking if they have a system you can use to track the purchase’s progress
• Checking if they have holidays booked when you may require their services
• Ensuring you know who will be responsible for your case while they’re off
• Knowing where their office is

4. Check reviews

Checking for reviews can help you narrow down your options. HomeOwners Alliance includes ratings and reviews for all the firms that provide quotes and is based on customer feedback.

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