Skip to content

Carol Bryson MNAEA, Managing Director of JP Harll

On the face of it, you would think any solicitor or conveyancer would be ok to sell your home but actually depending upon the property you are selling or your personal situation, you might be better off choosing one over another.  Read on to find out more.

If you have taken out Equity Release on your property, make sure the firm of Solicitors you are going to instruct are aware from the outset.  Not all companies carry the insurance cover to enable them to act on your behalf. 

Any file that they open for you or work that they commence may delay time and incur cost if it turns out that you have to use an alternative firm.


Have you owned your property for a very long time?  The Land Registry started digitalising their records in the 1980s and it may be that there has not been a property transaction to trigger the requirement to register.  If you are selling a ‘un-registered’ property, make sure that the case handler knows how to deal with them. You will need to use somebody with experience of dealing with first registrations.


If you are using a large internet based company you may find that there are quite a number of trainees or fee earners working under the instruction of a more senior colleague, who then checks over the file before signing it off for completion.  This can cause problems and delays in busy times when supervisors can be ‘snowed under’ with files, on holiday or off sick.


If you instruct an ‘out of town’ practice and you start having problems getting your calls answered and you don’t receive replies to your emails, you might not have the time or the ability to jump into the car and travel just to obtain a simple answer to your question.


From the time you receive an offer on your property to the date of Completion you should try as best as is humanly possible to achieve a smooth and as quick as possible time-frame, simply because the more time that elapses the more chance there is of something going wrong.  Accidents and illness do occur.


For the same reason, use a Law Firm that is large enough to ensure there is enough staff to cover for holidays and illness.  It is also worth asking if your solicitor or conveyancer has any extended holidays booked during the period that your transaction will take.


Enquire as to what is their favoured method of communication.  Some prefer email, whilst others Royal Mail and whilst there is currently strike action taking place this can cause extra stress and worry over awaited documentation.

For this reason amongst others, I would recommend using a local, high street branch of solicitors and conveyancers over an on-line, internet based or out of town office.  You can simply make an appointment to go into the office to sign documents, pick up and drop off any paperwork and, ask questions. 


They prefer to meet you ‘in person’ to verify your likeness and check your original documents wherever possible.  You will have to pay monies on account, before they will commence work on a file and it makes it easier and more straight forward to pop into the office than scanning, uploading, emailing and transferring monies.


Ask whether your point of contact is working from home or the office, as they might not be readily available if you want to pop in on a whim and have to make an appointment.


Estate Agents sometimes recommend firms of solicitors.  Usually because they have a good working arrangement with them.  Other times it is because they receive a referral fee for the lead. What can happen in reality is that these firms become too busy, the clients are not looked after as well as would be hoped and both the agent and client are unhappy.  It is well worth asking if a referral fee is being paid to the agent.


Therefore, as you can see, there is good reason to choose your solicitor wisely and basing your choice on fee alone is not the way to go.


When it comes to fees, you will likely pay more depending upon the individual who carries out the work.  Generally, solicitors charge more as they are qualified lawyers and can offer full legal services in other matters such as matrimonial or criminal cases.  Licensed Conveyancers are specialist property lawyers dealing mainly with residential property sales and purchases.


Try to ask friends and relations for recommendations and check out reviews to help with your choice.


More modern conveyancing firms have online case trackers that you can log on to, to see how progress is going.


One final note.  When obtaining your quotes ensure you get a thorough breakdown of costs so that you do not get any unpleasant surprises.


Hope this has been of help.