Buying and selling your house will probably be the biggest financial transactions you will ever undertake in your lifetime.  Here we give some tips on how to choose the right property solicitor (known as a conveyancer) to get things right the first time and ensure the transaction goes through as smoothly and as stress-free as possible.

What does a Conveyancer do?

Your conveyancing solicitor will conduct a wide range of tasks on your behalf, whether you’re buying or selling a property.  These tasks generally include:

  • Dealing with all the other parties to the transaction, for example other solicitors in the chain, estate agents, your mortgage provider and so on
  • Drawing up and assessing contracts
  • Conducting local searches
  • Dealing with the Land Registry
  • Managing Stamp Duty returns and payments
  • Managing the collection and transfer of funds
  • Providing legal advice and recommendations

Choosing a Local or Online Conveyancer

When choosing a conveyancer you will first need to decide whether to use an online conveyancing firm or a local solicitor.  In order to make your decision there are a number of factors you should take into consideration.

1 – Price

Online conveyancing is generally cheaper than using a local solicitor.  As with all things however, you need to be aware of hidden costs which could cost you more in the long run.  Although the up-front fee may be cheap, many of the people who will handle your matter will be unqualified paralegals, and may not be able to give you the best advice on the problems which typically crop up in many transactions.  With the sums of money involved in a house sale, mistakes can be costly!

2 – Service

“The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” – John Ruskin

Online conveyancers do not offer face-to-face meetings.  It is likely that you will never actually meet your online conveyancer and you may even speak to a different person every time you contact them, as most use call centres and SMS systems to keep you updated with the transaction.

The transaction itself can also take longer than you think as everything needs to go through the post compared to a local solicitor in which documents can be dropped off by hand and witnessed.

In choosing a local solicitor you will build a relationship with one trusted professional who you can visit if need be.  A local solicitor will spend a great deal of time on your file, can offer a more bespoke, flexible service for those who prefer a personal approach and a single point of contact when making such a significant financial transaction.

3 – Expertise

Should your matter be particularly complex or you require specialist advice (such as a declaration of trust if you are purchasing property with a partner) it may be difficult to obtain at a distance from an online conveyancing firm, especially when you are unaware of the qualification level of the people you are dealing with.

Local solicitors are able to deal with all areas of conveyancing no matter how complex, including shared equity purchases and transfers of equity. Their services often come with a wealth of local knowledge and experience which can be invaluable.

4 – Knowledge of area

Unlike a local solicitor, an online conveyancer is unlikely to have any personally knowledge of the area in which you are buying or selling.  You may therefore incur extra costs for unnecessary searches that a local solicitor with a familiarity of the area would not feel it necessary to undertake.

At Backhouse Solicitors our specialist conveyancing solicitors can offer you the best of both worlds for your Essex property transaction.  We combine local expert knowledge with an online web portal so that you can track the progress of your sale or purchase in real time.  You can also rest in the knowledge that we are an accredited member of The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

If you’re considering moving home and would like further advice or guidance please contact our team today for a free quotation.

Tel:         01245 893400

Or pop into our offices at 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU.

The Backhouse Solicitors Team