A Legal Eagle not a Quirky Turkey

At Professional Properties, we know that when you’ve made up your mind to sell your property its time to make the some important decisions, choices and appointments.

In this article we look at the importance of appointing your legal representative who will oversee the transfer of the property to your buyer and/or the purchase of your new home too.

You are selling your most valuable asset. It’s extremely important that the people helping you to achieve your goals are the best people for the job.

Let’s assume you have already chosen your estate agent.. and let’s hope that it is ourselves!

You Need a Legal Eagle

Now you need to instruct a solicitor. Sometimes referred to as a conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor. Solicitors are usually more expensive than conveyancers and are qualified lawyers, so they can offer a full range of legal services.

Licenced conveyancers are specialised in property but can’t often deal with complex legal issues.

Over the years we’ve dealt with lots of them. Some very good. Some very bad. They really can be the difference between a property deal going through or it collapsing.

Let’s just have a quick look at what a solicitor will actually do:

  • Handle the preparation of legal contracts
  • Offer legal advice relating to your own circumstances
  • Carry out local council searches
  • Deal and register the property with the Land Registry
  • Facilitate the transfer the funds to purchase the property.

A good solicitor should help everyone involved in the buying or selling of the property remain calm and well informed.

The three main things to look out for when picking a solicitor to handle your sale are the three C’s:

Communication

A good communicator will make you feel at ease and ensure that you know where you are in the process.  A poor communicator will have you tearing your hair out and getting extremely frustrated.

  • Establish how and how often they contact you with updates.
  • Find out the best times and ways to contact them.
  • Do they have an online login system allowing you to track how the purchase is progressing?
  • Check they are available when you will need them.
  • Ask what cover is in place if they are sick.
  • Where are they located. A local conveyancer can be more convenient and can be useful if there are any local authority issues which are unique to your area.

Clarity of Service

Solicitors often charge in different ways; fixed fees, hourly rates or a percentage of the property price. We advise you to get three quotes which should all include a detailed breakdown of costs.

All quotes should include the following:

  • Local authority searches
  • Bank transfer fees
  • Land Registry fees
  • Stamp Duty on properties over £125,000 (rates vary)
  • ‘Disbursements’ – other costs including postage and courier services
  • Additional costs due to more known complex issues.

Customer Care  

A good legal representative is not just there to complete the formalities, they are also there to advise you during what can be a very frustrating process. You may come up against a number of obstacles along the way:

  • The other party dropping out.
  • Gazumping – when someone else offers to pay more than the offer you’ve had accepted.
  • The costs potentially going up if you’re in a chain.
  • Problems found during a survey on the property.
  • Issues arising in finalising a mortgage for the property.

Your solicitor needs to offer you advice and support if the unexpected happens during the buying and selling process.

Finding a Good One

One of the best ways is to ask the other property professionals that will also be part of the selling process; family and friends, mortgage broker or your agent. We work regularly with a panel of solicitors who we highly recommend.

Online conveyancing is an option too. These are often call centre type operations and you will only deal with them by email or phone but it is often cheaper that a local solicitor. However, be advised that you won’t fully understand the quality of service and you might not talk to the same person each time you call, and they can’t deal with more complex legal problems.

Also ensure that your chosen solicitor is:

  • A member of the Law Society of England and Wales/ Law Society of Scotland and a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
  • A member of the Council for Licenced Conveyancers

Thanks for reading and please get in touch to discuss any aspect of selling your home or to get a solicitor recommendation on  01332 300130.