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Posted on 01 June 2020

Top 6 Tips when choosing a solicitor

If you are the ‘think before you speak’ type of person and have just said to your partner “I will handle the solicitors” not realizing what you’ve got yourself in to…

Read this and act like a professional (We’ve got your back 😉

Here are our TOP 6 Tricks when searching for your solicitor!

Do not take the first quote you get, compare

There are pros and cons to every solicitor firm. Do not feel obliged to use the recommended solicitor your estate agent recommends, nor should you accept the first offer they give you. Estate agents will naturally want you to send over the solicitor documentation as soon as possible. Just remember, you are in this together so take your time if you need to. If your choice is rushed or ill-thought through you could find your transaction takes longer and ends up costing more than necessary.

“Pssst”, *nudge nudge* – ExchangeTrain.co.uk not only enables you to compare the best UK based solicitors but incentivises them to bid for your business. It only takes 2 minutes – give us a go!

You do not have to use a local solicitor

Quite often, in good conscience, your estate agent will advise you to go for a local solicitor, but we don’t think locality is reason enough to pick a solicitor, especially when ExchangeTrain.co.uk brings hundreds of vetted UK solicitors right to your fingertips.

For the pragmatist there are some perks to choosing a local solicitor, such as being able to drop off paperwork and popping in to resolve any queries. However, in a standard transaction there is no need for you to frequently visit your local solicitor’s office, or in fact visit at all.

Solicitors will accept the transfer of documentation via post or email. Many solicitors have also adopted online portals with instantly accessible case tracking, and electronic signatures so you can sign your documentation from the comfort of your favourite Onsie.

Any solicitor will also maintain the discretion expected that enables you to communicate over the phone too, even to discuss sensitive information. They are all regulated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and with that accreditation comes the obligation for solicitors abide by the privacy and security regulations.

It is also worth noting that in order to process your transaction, solicitors pull information through verified third party organisations or online sources – locality hardly bares relevance to the transaction process!

The Estate agent’s first recommendation is not always the best fit

Due to recent political and economic factors, not to mention Brexit, the housing market is experiencing a turbulent time. Homes are changing hands less frequently, and estate agents tend to feel the squeeze. This makes estate agents more reliant on solicitor and mortgage advisor referral fees. They may be more inclined to offer you the services of the solicitor with whom they will earn the biggest incentive from, and not necessarily the most suitable provider for you.

It is not to say estate agents do not have your best interest at heart, however, it’s important to be canny towards the mechanisms behind their recommendation before signing the solicitor’s paperwork straight away.

Communication between you and your solicitor is key – listen to your solicitor and ask the right questions

As in any relationship, be it personal or professional, transparent communication is important – I am sure the more experienced amongst us will attest.

Delays and complications can be frustrating and are all too often a result of false assumptions – which are easily preventable by asking the right questions. In fact, just as it is likely you will have questions for your solicitor, a good solicitor will ask you the right questions to make sure your transaction fulfils their qualification criteria.

Make sure your solicitor commits to updating you regularly and to communicating any issues when they crop up. Most solicitors will have a minimum response time. With ExchangeTrain.co.uk, you can also find loads of reviews once you have signed up!

Make sure you have a direct contact or dedicated case handler

This may seem like a similar tip to the above, but the importance of communication cannot be overstated. There is nothing worse than being redirected through four different departments only to be told the person who you need to speak to is not available! Make sure you have a dedicated case handler or a direct point of contact to ensure a quick and precise update when you need it most.

Budget a little more than quoted for

As discussed in our blog ‘Understanding Solicitor fees’ we recommend budgeting for a £150 – £250 fee increase during your transaction, just in case.

It is not unusual for extra fees to appear throughout the conveyancing process. Hopefully, this blog has inspired you to ask some pertinent questions so you can mitigate any extra cost. If your home moving process becomes a little smoother – that is what matters most to us.

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