Do I need to use a ‘local’ conveyancer?

18 Jun 2013

No. You do not need to use a local conveyancer. In fact, all conveyancing solicitors individually act for clients throughout England & Wales, as the process of conveyancing and land ownership is uniform wherever you are.

When looking for a conveyancing quote, some conveyancing solicitors might suggest being local has an advantage, but the reality is that this rarely is the case – from a conveyancing point of view – only perhaps one of convenience for the client in being able to “pop in” to deliver things.

In fact, the vast majority of conveyancers rarely see their clients, because conveyancing is all handled through the post and email. Conveyancers make this possible, so clients do not need to visit their conveyancer and so can get on with their own personal day-to-day activities.

If you are using local convenience as a factor, you could be sacrificing excellence instead, as local does not mean quality. Your local conveyancer may still end up not seeing you either.

Instead, of all the criteria you should use when looking for a conveyancing solicitor, these should be your top priority:

1. How well established are they?
2. Are they owned by the estate agent who recommended them to you – or  are they recommended because they are the very best
3. What testimonials can they offer, so you can see what their own clients  say?
4. Do they have the recent Law Society accreditations Lexcel and CQS  (Conveyancing Quality Scheme) which demonstrate a commitment to the  very highest of standards for you – the client?
5. Are they behind the times without a website, or do they fail to offer  personal email addresses and direct dial telephone numbers
6. Do they fob you off to a website for updates, or will your own personal  solicitor telephone/email you regularly with detailed updates?
7. Do they close at lunch and dead on 5pm?
8. Are they a small team where sickness and holidays may cause your work  to slow if not stall?
9. Are they an actual solicitor firm, or some other 'legal' business where Law  Society protection is not available to you?
10. Who in the organisation will actually be handling your property  sale/purchase? Do they respect you enough to offer a named sole legal qualified solicitor or chartered legal executive who will make instant decisions and offer instant advice, or will you have an unqualified clerk or series of  clerks looking after you, where you need to quote a 'case number' or  some such phrase to have your calls taken and their work checked before they can answer you?
11. Do their conveyancing quotes have disguised fees, hidden extras (e.g.  filling in a stamp duty form, acting for a mortgage company, paying a contribution to postage, insurance and identification checks)?

Far too many people who buy and sell homes are herded to conveyancing outfits by some unscrupulous estate agents on the pre-text of :

– “it will be much quicker to use our conveyancers”
– “oh we will organise a conveyancer for you”
– “yes, you may have a conveyancer for your sale, but use ours for your purchase”

These conveyancing outfits will not offer actual solicitors or chartered legal executives to you. Instead, in many cases, 'cash' is in fact traded to pay for your business lead. Nothing to do with your best interests.

You have to ask yourself why defects in title deeds are still found, why sales and purchases often drag along so slowly, why “my conveyancer is so slow” is still heard across the country.

It is all due to the quality of the conveyancer you use.

Choose wisely.