How to find the right solicitor for you
Posted on 23rd March 2023 at 12:46
How to find the right solicitor for you
Every day we are asked which solicitor a client should use and every day we say the same thing, the one that fits your needs. Just like when you choose a property or a mortgage broker your solicitor needs to fit your needs and work for you. There are 100s if not 1000s you can choose from so how do you find the one for you?
The perfect solicitor doesn’t need to be local to you, they can be anywhere in the UK. In times gone by you needed to stick with a local solicitor because you need to drop paper documents off in person to make sure they arrived safely or had to ‘po in’ to sign documents in person. Now you can do everything remotely. You can send paper documents by recorded delivery and most solicitors have online forms you can sign.
Larger firms are on more panels but bigger isnt necessarily better. Many lenders (especially specialist lenders) require legal firms to meet certain criteria such as a minimum number of directors, certain amount of experience in that particular field or a set number of cases completed to be accepted onto their approved solicitor panel. As a result of these measures, it is often the larger firms that meet these criteria due to how long they have been in business and the number of staff they have. But just because they are bigger doesn’t mean they are on the panel of lenders or in fact a good fit for you. Sometimes the larger firms handle too many cases so updates and communication can be an issue with some. There are many smaller solicitors out there that meet the criteria of lenders and as they are smaller, don’t handle as many cases so the response and speed you get form them can be more efficient than the larger firms. When applying for a mortgage with a particular lender you will find if your chosen solicitor is approved by that lender or not. Ideally, they will be, if not you would need to find a solicitor who has been approved to act on the lender’s behalf.
If you are buying through a scheme or niche investment, then it is always best to use a solicitor with experienced in the sector. This may include buying through the ‘Help to Buy scheme’ or investing in buy to let using a limited company. Not every solicitor will have vast experience dealing with Help to Buy schemes or offer advice on ltd company buy to let mortgages. So always best to ask in advance if they offer this service or if that sector is something they have much experience in.
The price they quote you should be secondary to the service the offer. A great solicitor can make your life much easier than a shoddy one. A great solicitor is worth their weight in gold and should be treated as such. Check their reviews online or ask for recommendations from friends to see if they had a good experience with the one, they used. With most things in life, you get what you pay for, and you pay for quality, and a solicitor is no different. Cheaper isnt always better, and a good solicitor will know their worth and charge in line with that.
How they speak to you on the phone is a key indicator of the level of service they will provide and if they will make you a priority. If they are short on the phone or don’t seem very knowledgeable this may be an indicator to keep working your way down the phone book until you find a better response. Similarly, if they answer quickly, are prompt to find you an answer and answer your questions in a knowledgeable and polite manner you may have found yourself a great solicitor.
A key question to ask is “Are you taking on new business at the moment?”. Due to the number of purchases and remortgages that have taken place this year already, many solicitors have a backlog of cases they are working through, so for a while in 2022 some solicitors weren’t taking on new work until they caught up with the work they already had. When calling a potential solicitor, you should ask if they are taking on new clients right now the obvious response from them will determine whether you work together in the future or if you continue your search.
By using these tips, you can find yourself the perfect solicitor to get your purchase, sale or remortgage over the line quickly and pain free.
If you would like more help and support, please get in touch.
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