Conveyancing Solicitors they are your minders
A conveyancing solicitor– who is also obliged as much by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) – is paid to have your best interests first and foremost. Not profit, not gain, but your welfare. Their client. Conveyancing solicitors are there to make sure the opposite party (i.e your buyer or seller as applicable) does not pull the wool over your eyes. They will also comment on your survey, and mortgage offer, and certainly advise you on the implications of the latter should it not appear to be in your best interests to move forward with it.
As a result, forging a good personal working relationship with your conveyancer paves the way for a smooth property transaction, at a time when moving home is already a stressful time. This relationship can then last beyond your home move, leaving you with your own solicitor to call on any future legal needs – property or otherwise.
Unfortunately, just as there are mediocre estate agents, there are also mediocre conveyancers. And so choosing a quality conveyancer is not easy. As a minimum, reference should be made to the two Law Society backed accreditation schemes for solicitors, Lexcel and their Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). Indeed, in the case of the latter, the conveyancing solicitors are obliged to adopt the Law Society’s conveyancing Protocol – which is a procedural checklist / method of procedure which is designed to speed up the conveyancing process, using uniform forms and documents, limited superfluous enquiries and requiring work to be carried out at set stages, and within certain times-scales.
In England & Wales, you should seek out a conveyancer who is either regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Council of Legal Executives or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers. Though in the case of the latter, they are solely limited to property transactions. The two former practise all areas of the law – and indeed, conveyancing impacts a wide range of areas of law – trusts, Wills, disputes, employment, matrimonial and company law.
However, even with the above group of professionals, do make sure you make yourself a checklist of the quality you would want to expect from your conveyancing solicitor. No one wants a conveyancer who drags their feet, is too small an outfit to dedicate enough time, or too large to provide any kind of individual service.
And remember –when seeking a conveyancing quote, always (i) ask what is the qualification of your lawyer and (ii) be wary of a suspiciously low quote – as this can mean less time is spent with you/delegation to an unqualified assistant. Being your most valuable asset, is your property transaction time to risk legal mistakes and poor conveyancing over a £100-£300 price difference?
Though, if you do get it wrong, always remember that you can instruct another conveyancer mid-way, without the need to lose much time at all – a matter of days, even less depending on the quality of who you are switching to and how they are willing to help.