When is the best time to instruct a conveyancing solicitor?

Instructing a solicitor before an offer is accepted can speed up your move. As most solicitors work on a no move no fee basis, it is a no-brainer…

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No move, no fee, no-brainer…

Before we examine the benefits of instructing a conveyancing solicitor before an offer is accepted, it is worth stressing that most solicitors now work on a no move, no fee basis.

No move, no fee means that if your property  sale or purchase  does not proceed or falls though, you will not have to pay any legal fees. 

As there is no financial outlay for risk of losing any money on legal fees if your sale or purchase does not complete, there is no reason to delay instructing a solicitor. 

But will it cost more when I complete?

No. Most solicitors working on a no move no fee basis also charge a fixed fee for their services. This means that you only pay legal fees if, as and when your sale purchase completes.

The amount you pay should be fixed and agreed at the point of instruction and set out clearly on the conveyancing quote you received.

See also:

How much should conveyancing fees cost in 2019?

The benefits of a seller instructing a solicitor when putting their home on the market 

Many sellers make the mistake of instructing a solicitor after they have accepted an offer on their property.

Often the seller won’t have thought about the conveyancing process until their estate agent asks them for their solicitors details. Although some estate agents will try to sell legal services to sellers when they first market the property, most agents only ask the question once an offer is accepted.

The benefits of instructing a solicitor as soon as you put your property on the market include:

Completing time consuming tasks in advance

If a seller instructs a solicitor before an offer is accepted, the solicitor can carry out numerous tasks in advance. 

These tasks can include:

  • Sourcing property deeds
  • Agreeing terms and conditions, verifying the client’s identity, money laundering checks  and all other steps required way setting up a legal file
  • Getting the conveyancing protocol forms filled in by the seller e.g. property information form, fixtures and fittings form, says leasehold information form etc.
  • Sourcing of the lease if necessary
  • Sourcing leasehold management information (this can take weeks or even months and is a major cause of delay in leasehold transactions) from

See also:

Should I use the estate agent's recommended solicitor?

What must I disclose to the buyer when selling my home?

Documents you need when selling your home - checklist

The conveyancing process can start immediately

Once a buyer is found, the relevant paperwork can then be sent to the buyer as soon as an offer is accepted.

Instructing before you have found a buyer also gives your solicitor the chance to review all the paperwork relating to your property in advance also equips them for any issues raised by the buyer’s solicitor later on.

The more the seller’s solicitor knows about the property, its' title and possible defects, the more ready the seller will be to address and overcome any issues.

Speeding up the conveyancing process

The paperwork involved in buying and selling property can take weeks to collate and process.  Delays frequently arise while solicitors twiddle their thumbs waiting for forms and documents to be returned.

A solicitor armed with the necessary information can drive the sale forwards proactively.

See also:

Speed up the conveyancing process - how to take control

Reduces the likelihood of the sale falling through

One third of property sales fall through after the offer has been accepted. One of the main reasons for this statistic are delays in the conveyancing process. The longer the conveyancing process takes the more likely the circumstances of another person in the chain are to change.

All it takes is for another person in thne chain to:

  • lose their job
  • have a mortgage offer expire
  • have a change of heart
  • find another property
  • lose confidence in the property market

...and the whole chain collapses.

Doing everything you can to avoid delays in the conveyancing process is paramount in achieving a successful outcome.

The benefits of instructing solicitor before you have found a property to buy

Although you, as a buyer, are not able to prepare to the same extent, there are still benefits to instructing solicitor before you have found a home you want to buy:

Demonstration of intent

Often the seller will be looking for reasons to accept the offer of one buyer over that of another.

Having your solicitor in place before you make an offer on a property will demonstrate to the seller that you are serious about proceeding. It will also mean you are ready to hit the ground running when you find a property you want to buy. 

This alone could make your offer more attractive to the seller than a competing offer.

Get your client legal file setup

When a solicitor takes on a new client there are a number of steps and checks to be completed before the solicitor can formally represent you.

These include:

  • verifying identity
  • carrying out money laundering checks
  • agreeing the terms of the service they will provide
  • agreeing fees for the service.

Conclusion

Instructing a solictor before an offer is accepted can significantly speed up your move and reduce stress in thne proc  ess.

This approach also allows you to compare a few solicitors before you choose one - rather than making a hurried choice in the rush after an offer is accepted.

See also:

Tips for Choosing the Best Conveyancer or Solicitor

Calculate my conveyancing fees
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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