Traditionally, solicitors undertook all conveyancing work but now there are also licensed conveyancers to do the work.
It is illegal for conveyancers who are not licensed to charge a fee for conveyancing work. Check with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers that a named conveyancer is licensed.
It makes little difference whether you choose a solicitor or licensed conveyancer - other considerations are more important.
Key Factors to Consider in Choosing a Solicitor
- Prices vary, but be wary of the very cheapest services - this might indicate poor quality. It might be worth paying a bit more for a good service. On the other hand, the most expensive is not necessarily the best.
- Look for a solicitor who is not overworked or inexperienced as this could mean important details are missed. Equally, you don't want one who is very slow or too pedantic as this could hold up the process.
- Buying a house is a stressful business, and it is important that you get on with your solicitor. Think about whether you can trust this person.
Overall, be sure to hire a solicitor or conveyancer as soon as possible in your home-buying process, so that they will be ready to step into action as soon as you have had an offer accepted - preferably as soon as you know you are likely to make an offer on a house. The faster things move, the better the chances that all will go smoothly.
Finding a Solicitor
One of the best ways to choose is through personal recommendation. If you know someone who was happy with a solicitor/conveyancer's services throughout the process this is a very good indication of their quality.
Otherwise, you can consult the Law Society's regional directory for solicitors in your area, or look in the Yellow Pages or local newspapers for adverts.
If you have already used a solicitor for other business, you could contact them for recommendations of solicitors in the same firm specialising in conveyancing.
Usually the same solicitor cannot act for both the buyer and seller of a property, but two solicitors of the same firm may do so as long as there is no clash of interests between buyer and seller.