When is the best time to appoint a solicitor, and whom do you appoint?
Begin researching as soon as you decide to put your house up for sale. I would recommend getting quotes from no less than three companies; I chose to get quotes from six. You may be wondering why I decided on six as that seems like an awful lot of quotes; I wanted to make sure we got the right one, which had the right level of customer service and at the right price.
- A local solicitor
- The recommended solicitor from the Estate Agents
- The solicitor recommended by the mortgage company
- An industry recommended solicitor
- X2 personal recommendation
On the whole my quotes were very comparable as most of the fees included standard rates such as Stamp Duty and Land registry fees. The main differences in cost were solicitor fees, and searches. Watch out for quotes that come in excessively high. One of my quotations came in at £8,000 more than the other fees as they had incorrectly quoted the higher Stamp Duty rate for us. In my eyes it is unacceptable for them to make this kind of mistake, I would prefer to be asked questions to clarify my position rather than be quoted based on an assumption. I informed the solicitor of their mistake and didn’t appoint them.
My one piece of advice is to do a bit of research about your own situation, especially if you have more than one property. Had I not done this, and only gone to the one supplier that quoted me an additional £8,000, I could be stuck with a bill astronomically higher than necessary.
On the 4th July 2017 I met with Michelle Crowhurst from Berwin Solicitors in Harrogate. Over a cup of coffee and tonic water we discussed many things but in particularly what the role of a solicitor is.
A solicitor is responsible for the following areas of your sale / purchase:
- Drawing up documents – e.g. contract of sale, title and planning searches, transfer document
- Legal advice – e.g. highlighting terms to be aware of, planning restrictions, and ensure they have read the contract of sale
- Arranging the settlement – e.g. confirm a time to exchange, liaison with the estate agent to transfer keys
- Property certificate collation – e.g. building certificates
- Transfer of monies on completion of the sale
Michelle’s top 3 tips for a smooth completion
1. Have a copy of all your certificates for work completed on your home. This includes: building work, electrics, new windows, new boiler and so on….
Regulating bodies are as follows:
- Double Glazing: FENSA https://www.fensa.org.uk/
- Building work: You need a completion certificate for the building work, and your local authority will check the work. https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
- Electrics – Your contractor should be Part P qualified and sign off any work you have completed. If they do not do this then you will incur extra charges for sign off from other parties, such as your local council.
- Central Heating (or any gas fitting) – Appoint a Gas safe registered engineer, and following completion of the work you will receive a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/gas-safety-certificates-records/
If you don’t have this documentation, it will slow down the sale of your home.
2. Make sure you request that your solicitor drip feeds you paperwork, rather than having documentation delivered to you in bulk.
This makes the process far more efficient, and mistakes can be spotted earlier on. It also makes reading the documentation a bit easier and ensures you don’t miss key pieces of information.
3. And finally,
Appoint a solicitor that has local knowledge of the area you are buying in. For example Michelle told me that searches in Harrogate can take 6-8 weeks, so they need to be booked in early. A solicitor who knows this information can help keep the process ticking over so you are not left for large period of time without any communication.
I hope you have found this blog useful. Good luck finding your solicitor and progressing the purchase / sale of your property.
If you would like to include Berwin Solicitors in your quotation please follow the link below.
If you are struggling to find the time to appoint suppliers associated with your move, or feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your to do list for moving house then contact House Moving Solutions. We have a number of services available to help manage your move for you. Contact Nichola Skedgel to arrange your free consultation today: 07860773351, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org