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Choosing a solicitor for conveyancing

This article appeared in the Mercury newspaper on 5th May 2010.

Richard Memmott of Norrie Waite & Slater Solicitors answers questions about choosing someone to handle your conveyancing when moving home.

I have seen some every low prices for conveyancing quoted online, is there a catch?

Some firms of solicitors, and inconveyancing particular many online conveyancers, quote low fees up front and later add charges for "additional" costs. This is a way of attracting work in the first place by appearing cheap, but in my opinion is misleading to clients.

Look out for additional charges for things such as completing the Stamp Duty Land Tax form, buying a leasehold property or dealing with your mortgage lender. These are very common items which should be included in the price you are quoted at the outset. Here at Norrie Waite & Slater we have a policy of quoting fees honestly upfront so that clients know exactly what they are going to be charged and we will never hide standard fees just to appear cheaper than we are.

My Estate Agents want me to use their conveyancing service, do I have to?

When moving home you will usually deal with an Estate Agent first. Many estate agents will recommend that you use their "in house" solicitors. Some will quote you a combined price for marketing your property and carrying out the conveyancing work. They are usually selling your conveyancing job on to a firm of solicitors and receiving a referral fee, which you could be paying over and above the real cost of the conveyancing work. In my experience this can make their conveyancing fees very expensive.

This practice also raises the question of whose interests those solicitors are then serving, yours or the estate agents who they rely on for their work? My advice is to contact a solicitor direct for your conveyancing work so that you can be sure that your interests come first. Leave the legal work to the experts and leave the marketing of your home to the estate agents.

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