1. Choose a good conveyancer - one with Law Society accreditations - Lexcel and CQS (Google these accreditations) and one who is actually qualified (e.g a solicitor, chartered legal executive) as few people realise they do not even have an actual solicitor acting for them. The better the conveyancer, the quicker they are at making decisions (without having to speak to someone more senior) and at spotting defects and offering immediate solutions.
2. Conveyancers must use email, telephone or fax. Their letterheads should state their email and direct dial telephone number. Avoid using letters unless an original enclosure is needed.
3. On a sale, the seller should instruct their conveyancing solicitor even before an offer is made, as this enables the conveyancer to take ID documents and to review the deeds for transaction delaying defects made by the previous conveyancer.
4. On a sale, your conveyancer solicitor should send out contract papers the day they are instructed by phone (going to the Land Registry's website for copy deeds) rather than waiting up to 2 weeks to send out their client papers, having waited for their return and then acted on them.
5. A buyer's conveyancer should carefully consider whether any enquiries really are needed to be raised on the seller's contract papers. Many conveyancers automatically raise enquiries - often general in nature, and not Law Society condoned. This only delays things.
6. A buyer's conveyancer should make it clear very early to their clients that the deposit should be sent to them by bank transfer, as a cheque can waste up to 6 working days while it clears.
7. When a conveyancer emails or otherwise communicates, the other conveyancer should answer the same day, even a brief email to say a full answer will come shortly.
8. As a seller's conveyancer, if you receive enquiries from a buyer's conveyancer, pick up the phone to your client and ask them the answers and then email back replies that same day if possible.
9. Use official searches from the Local Authority and request it direct, not through a search company. In this way, you retain more control over chasing the search if there is a delay – and the price to the client is lower.
The best tip:
10. A conveyancer emails the estate agent, with a cc to the slow conveyancer saying : 'Have you had any contact from the [buyer]/[seller] as their lawyer has failed to respond to recent communications?' 95% success rate at having the slow conveyancer respond pretty fast! The cc to the slow conveyancer perhaps embarrasses them into action.