In this second edition in the series of our Backhouse guide to finding your legal expert, we are going to take you through the top tips and best practices when searching for your Conveyancing Lawyer.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced mover, finding the right conveyancer for you can seem like a minefield with many firms to choose from, too much legal jargon and limited knowledge of what to look out for, we are here to help!

Best practices & top tips:

We have put together our recommendations of a few best practices and tips to consider when looking for a reliable, reputable firm of conveyancers.

  1. Friends and Family recommendations – Have any of your friends or relatives recently moved house? Have they had a good experience with their conveyancer?
  2. Google – Google can be your best friend or your enemy. Don’t just choose the first firm that appears when you search for conveyancers in your area. Most businesses now have Google reviews allowing you to see their overall rating and read through reviews to give you an insight of others’ experiences with that firm.
  3. Legal Jargon – Does the business promote that they are legal jargon-free? This will be important when going through the conveyancing process if you haven’t done it before. Legal jargon can make the process even more confusing so you want a conveyancer that will explain the process of buying or selling a home in plain English and will break down the legal jargon for you.
  4. Fee Transparency – Often, certain legal fees are not communicated with clients and can come as a surprise, potentially resulting in you paying more than you initially anticipated. While extra fees may be incurred, this will depend upon the level of complexity of your transaction and any changes in price should always be communicated to you. Firms that state they will provide fee transparency is always a good sign.
  5. Comparing Costs – Although it is tempting to choose the cheapest firm, this can have consequences. You may not receive a quality service, they may not be qualified or insured and therefore we recommend that you do your homework first.
  6. No move-no fee – Some firms have a no move no fee offer which means if your transaction falls through, you may not have to pay all of the legal fees. However, terms and conditions can vary from firm to firm, so ensure you ask for full details of the offer and what fees you will still have to pay.
  7. Lender Panel Membership – Check that your proposed conveyancing firm are on the panel to act for your proposed mortgage lender, otherwise, your lender will instruct a separate solicitor and you will have to pay their legal fees too. It is much more cost-effective to have your conveyancer acting for your lender as well as yourself, both in terms of cost and time efficiency.

Legal Bodies & Qualifications:

Checking for these will ensure you are using services provided by legally regulated firms and individuals that are top quality professionals in their field, giving you protection with your transaction. Below is a list to help you.

SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) – the SRA logo and a registered number should easily be seen on the firms website and linked to a page that states the website has been verified by the SRA. This means that:

  • everyone who works for the firm must meet the high standards the SRA set
  • this firm must have the right level of insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong
  • you may be able to claim through the SRA Compensation Fund to have your money reimbursed if this firm or a Lawyer working for it loses your money
  • you can complain to the SRA if you are concerned about the behaviour of this firm.

The Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) – This is the recognised quality mark for legal experts in buying or selling property. Firms who are accredited to the CQS go through a rigorous annual renewal/accreditation process.

CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) – CILEx regulates individuals who are:

  • Charted Legal Executives – Authorised Lawyers often specialising in a particular area of law
  • CILEx Practitioners – Lawyers who are specialists in the specific areas of law that CILEx has authorised them to practice in.
  • Members of CILEx – includes individuals with other grades of membership working towards qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive

CLC (Council for Licenced Conveyancers) – Regulating Property and Probate Lawyers

Regulatory activities include:

  • setting educational and training standards for entry to the profession
  • issuing licences to practise to those qualified to provide conveyancing and probate services and to Alternative Business Structures
  • maintaining a register of all licensed conveyancers and regulated bodies
  • setting standards to regulate the professional practice, conduct and discipline of licensed conveyancers and regulated bodies
  • setting standards to maintain adequate professional indemnity insurance and a compensation fund to protect consumers
  • monitoring the work and conduct of regulated bodies
  • providing guidance and advice to regulated bodies to maintain compliance with our regulatory requirements
  • investigating allegations of misconduct and where appropriate taking disciplinary action

Expert Conveyancers at Backhouse Solicitors

If you are looking for the right conveyancer for you, our expert team of qualified conveyancers can help. Contact the team at Backhouse or if you would like a quote, use our Instant Conveyancing Quote tool.

Coming SoonHow to Find your Legal Expert: Part 3 – Will Writing Solicitor

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