Conveyancing is part of fulfilling legal requirements when ownership of a property changes, and so it's important to ensure you choose the right person/firm to handle your property transfer. Buying or selling property is a huge undertaking, and if done improperly, it could expose you to criminal or civil liability, not to mention losing your investment. This article highlights five questions to ask when vetting potential property solicitors.
1. What are your charges?
There are many costs attached to a property transfer transaction, whether you're buying or selling. The following are costs to enquire about:
Attorney's fees – covers their labour and time and some correspondence fees
Disbursements – extra costs incurred by the solicitor and passed on to you at the end of the transaction. These are standard and thus should be the same for all your attorneys. Examples include search costs (bankruptcy, local authority, environmental, drainage etc.), registration and transfer fees
Stamp duty – land/property transfer tax based on property value
When given the costs, ensure that you're not just given the attorney's fees, so that you can budget properly.
2. How can I make things easier for you?
Conveyancing primarily happens between lawyers, but your input will be needed in specific areas, such as to provide information, to provide financing and to read and sign contracts. By knowing ahead of time what the process entails, you can be prepared with your inputs as they fall due so that the process occurs speedily.
3. Who will handle my case?
If approaching a firm and not an individual lawyer, it's important to meet with the attorney that will be assigned to your transfer. You should find out how many cases they have handled, including property types and challenging cases. They may not be able to reveal details because of confidentiality, but you can tell experienced lawyers by how forthcoming solutions are with difficult questions. While pricier, experienced lawyers are better if your transfer isn't cut-and-dry. Newly-qualified attorneys are cheaper and ideal for straightforward transfers.
4. What is your grievance protocol?
If you choose a good solicitor, you may never have a complaint, but it's important to know how to deal with unsatisfactory service from the outset. It may be a meeting or call to a senior partner after which things can be sorted. Most firms have a written grievance procedure, and this should be given in your client care letter before you give the 'go' for the firm to represent you.
5. What is your communication protocol?
You should know how often to expect updates and through which channels. It's preferable to use written communication so that you can always refer to it when needed. Phone calls are good, but should be followed with written communication, such as email or postal letters. In addition, find out whether your lawyer is available out-of-hours, such as during holidays in case there's a problem or if your transfer process if occurring in the holiday season. Some firms close for the holidays.
For more information, contact companies like Johnson & Sendall.Share
5 September 2017
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