How Do I Get the Best Conveyancing Service?

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Good conveyancing should reduce stress levels when moving house by making the transaction run smoothly.
However, often, just the opposite happens.
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For most of us, when we buy a property it will be the most important transaction we ever undertake, not just in terms of being the most expensive but also in terms of the effect it will have our lives, end up in the “house from hell” and it could have a seriously negative impact. So it is reasonable for us to want to make sure that we get the very best conveyancing advice we can reasonably afford.

This difficulty is trying to find the best conveyancing lawyer! Unfortunately there is no handy league table. There are plenty of reviews available on the internet however these are not necessarily reliable. The bad ones are often ill-informed and the good ones often planted by the firms or their employees themselves. Also, what makes the best conveyancing lawyer will vary from person to person depending on the individual's needs. Notwithstanding that, here are some tips which will hopefully point you in the right direction.

Is the Best Conveyancing Lawyer Always the Most Expensive?

The short answer is no. In fact, the most expensive conveyancers will probably be those do not actually specialise in the field. The rates charged in most other areas of law are much higher than in conveyancing because specialist conveyancers rely on high volume.

Just because a lawyer is a respected name in another field does not mean he will be a good conveyancer. On the contrary, he may well be out of touch and less inclined to take a practical view. Also, he will most likely look to fit the conveyancing in around his other commitments rather than prioritising it.

This does not meanest the cheapest conveyancer is best of course. Very cheap firms usually have much larger volumes (therefore less time to spend on your particular case) and less qualified staff, which often means they can struggle to deal efficiently with transactions which become problematic. The best conveyancing is usually done by traditional high street firms with a specialist conveyancing department.

Do I Need a Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer to Deal With My Case?

The firm you instruct must either be a firm of solicitors or a firm of licensed conveyancers in order to be able legally to carry on the practice of conveyancing in return for a fee, however the individual actually dealing with your case does not have to be qualified.

There are a large number of very competent non-qualified conveyancers working in the field, and indeed some incompetent solicitors and licensed conveyancers. The best conveyancing lawyers, whether they are qualified or not, are generally those with the most conveyancing experience. Do not assume that because a fee earner is qualified he will have lots of experience, he may have just moved into the field.

If you want to ensure that you get the best conveyancing advice then it may be wise to ask, before you instruct a firm, how many years of experience the fee earner who will be dealing with the case has. Three years or more is good. Of course, everyone has to start somewhere and if your conveyancer is less experienced then ask if he or she will be supervised by a more experienced fee earner.

Are the Best Conveyancing Lawyers On Line or On the High Street?

The traditional view is that while the on line firms may be “cheap and cheerful”, the best conveyancing advice is to be had from the high street firms. In reality it is far from clear cut. It is true that high street firms tend to have more qualified and more experienced staff, however by contrast the on line firms tend to have more efficient systems in place which limit the scope for mistakes and make the process quicker. They are also generally cheaper.

What you generally won't get from an on line form, which you will from the high street, is face to face contact. Also, there are probably more poor conveyancers working for the on line “conveyancing factories” than for smaller high street firms. In a small firm not only will incompetence stand out more because there are less people to pick up the slack, but the fee earners will usually be supervised by a partner of the firm, who has an actual financial interest, rather than a “team leader” who might themselves not be particularly competent and who might be happy just to have an easy life. Although of course it should not happen and in most firms probably does not, it unfortunately does in some!

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