FIND SOMEONE TO DO THE LEGAL WORK
The Law Society of England and Wales provides a list of solicitors on its website who have been recommended by other solicitors. It also provides useful information about conveyancing for first-time buyers.
The Association of Conveyancing Solicitors website lists suitable solicitors in each county or Leicestershire. It advises that you ask for recommendations from friends, family and colleagues to find the right solicitor for your needs. When choosing a solicitor, price should not be the only consideration, so don't hesitate to contact more than one.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has a list of solicitors who are members on its website. Among other things, it states that your conveyancer must have no actual or potential conflicts of interest with you and the lender. You will also need to provide your solicitor with access to the title details of the property you want to buy, so that your solicitor can check these thoroughly before beginning work on your transaction.
Many lenders have their own panel of conveyancers and specify which one should be used for a particular purchase. This list is usually accessible through the lender itself or through independent mortgage brokers. Lenders usually recommend using the same solicitor for every purchase, rather than just for one purchase.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents has a list of member agents and lenders on its website who provide conveyancing services. This list is updated regularly so it contains details of most members in England and Wales.
The government's Money Advice Service provides information about using a conveyancer or solicitor on its website. It states that whether you use a solicitor or not, you should get legal advice before letting an unqualified person handle your money.
Once you’ve chosen a solicitor, you will need to provide them with:
The full names and addresses of all parties;
Proof that any money transferred is legally
Available for the purchase; proof of your identity;
A statement of your intentions;
Details of the purchase price;
Information about any existing mortgages;
And confirmation of the surveyor’s valuation.
There are some circumstances where you may not need to use a solicitor. For example, if the purchase is straightforward and potential problems are unlikely, you may be able to buy without professional help. However, there will usually be consequences for doing this.
If the property has been inherited or transferred through an estate, the process of transferring ownership may be different. You may need to seek separate legal advice if this is the case.
The Law Society provides some more examples on its website.
Using a solicitor adds extra cost to your purchase, but they are trained professionals who can help reduce any potential problems or delays in completing your transaction. Those considering whether to use a solicitor should ask friends and family for recommendations and check online reviews before making their choice.