How To Compare Conveyancing Solicitors

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There are thousands of conveyancers out there to choose from when you are buying or selling your home, so which do you choose? Cheap or expensive? Local or national? Solicitor or licensed conveyancer? On line or high street? It is an important decision and you should take time to compare conveyancing services before deciding.
So how do you compare conveyancing? There are a number of different factors to think about. There is price, whether your transaction is likely to be complicated, whether there is a strict deadline and whether you want to visit your conveyancer in person.
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Decide What Factors are Most Important to You

It is unlikely that you will ever find a conveyancer who ticks all the boxes, so before you compare conveyancing services you need to know which factors are most important to you then you can compare conveyancing based on those.

What follows is a brief look at some of the different factors and how to compare conveyancing services on the basis of them.

Price

This is often the most important factor. If you are looking for the cheapest conveyancing quote then the first step is probably a quick internet search for “cheap conveyancing”. Pick a selection but don't rely on the details provided on their websites. These “headline” quotes often turn out to be quite different from what you actually pay.

Once you have chosen a few, telephone them, explain the nature of the transaction (what is the sale/purchase price, do you have a deadline, are you buying a house or a flat, are you getting or paying off a mortgage, will the lease need to be extended, will you need a declaration of trust etc - give as much details as you can) and ask for a quote to be e-mailed to you.

When you compare conveyancing quotes it is best to look just at the conveyancer's fees, as the other costs, such as land registry fees and searches, will be the same or almost the same wherever you go. For this reason, ask for a quote both with and without these costs, which are known as “disbursements”. You can then compare conveyancing quotes properly.

Will You Want to See Your Conveyancer in Person?

Modern busy lifestyles mean that many of us don't really have the time to travel to a conveyancer's office to sign paperwork and discuss the transaction and would prefer to deal with everything by phone, e-mail and post in our own time. For example it might come to the time to sign the papers but you are very busy at work or you are away from home and so cannot make an appointment for a couple of weeks. This could hold the transaction up whereas if the documents could be e-mailed or posted to you things could move along more quickly.

Alternatively you may not feel comfortable dealing with things over the phone and you might not use e-mail. You might therefore prefer to deal face to face.

If either “arm's length” or face to face dealings are important to you then before you compare conveyancing quotes, check how they normally do business. An arm's length firm may make an exception and see you in person or a face to face firm may agree to do things at arm's length but generally you will get the best results if you choose a firm that is used to doing things the way you want them to.

Do You Have a Strict Deadline?

Sometimes you will need to have your transaction completed by a fixed deadline. This might be set by you or by another party in the chain. If you do have a deadline, it is important to compare conveyancing firms to see who is likely to be able to achieve it.

No conveyancer can guarantee right at the outset that a deadline will be met since there will always be factors beyond his control, so first of all discount anyone that does attempt to offer you a guarantee! Instead of asking “will it be completed by the deadline?”, ask whether they can guarantee that correspondence will be dealt with on the day of receipt, whether fax or e-mail will be used in place of post wherever possible and at what stage you will be asked to sign the papers. Basically, ask for a guarantee that the conveyancers will do everything within their power to ensure the transaction goes through by the deadline.

You should be prepared to pay a little more for the extra service.

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