How To Find Solicitors

Whether you are selling or buying your property in England and Wales, you'll probably need to find solicitors to deal with the conveyancing. Most of us have little or no contact with the law in our daily lives so the idea of having to find solicitors can seem daunting, but it needn't be so. In fact when it comes to conveyancing, it is very easy to find solicitors – it is a competitive market and there will be a number of people willing to make recommendations (usually because the solicitors are paying them a fee). The trick is to find solicitors that are right for you.

The first question you might ask is, do you need to find solicitors at all? There is another type of property lawyer, called a licensed conveyancer. Licensed conveyancers specialise in conveyancing work. The plus side is that they are often better set up to deal with conveyancing (you may find solicitors, particularly hight street solicitors, only do conveyancing as a sideline). The minus side is that they can only deal with conveyancing. If you get into some kind of dispute, such as a contractual or misrepresentation dispute after completion, you will need to find solicitors to assist you.

How to Find Solicitors that are Cheap

Cost is a major factor for most when it comes to trying to find solicitors. You want to spend any spare money you have on settling debts or decorating your new home, not on legal fees, so it's great if you can find solicitors that are both cheap and provide a quality service. The best place to find solicitors, where cost is factor, is online, however you need to be on your guard.

Many times you will find solicitors who claim to be ridiculously cheap, but there are often hidden costs. You will find solicitors often give only their “base” fee in an advert, to draw you in, but then will add on all sorts of extras such as a fee for dealing with a new mortgage (or redemption of an existing mortgage), a fee for transferring funds electronically (essential to most transactions) and all sorts of other hidden extras which you might expect to find solicitors including in their basic fee.

The best way to find solicitors who are value for money is to find, say, 5 solicitors and call each one to ask for a quote based on the actual circumstances of your transaction including whether there is a mortgage involved, the price being paid for the property and whether it is leasehold or freehold. Ask for the quote to include disbursements – these should be basically the same everywhere but you will find solicitors will not all use the same search providers and prices will vary. Once you have chosen the quote you like best, search Google for reviews on that firm to check there are no horror stories and if you are happy, instruct them.

Where to Find Solicitors

So where to find solicitors? A good way to find solicitors is online. You will find numerous referral sites that act as intermediaries between client and solicitor (including on this very page!). You will often find solicitors quote less when you approach them via an intermediary than when you approach them directly. This is is because these intermediaries will find solicitors who are willing to accept a reduced fee in return for a regular stream of work.

Another way to find solicitors is by using the Law Society “find a solicitor” tool. If you enter your postcode and filter the search to only include solicitors that offer residential conveyancing you will find solicitors in your area, starting with the nearest. The Council for Licensed Conveyancers' website has a similar search function.

We can help you with our conveyancing quote request tool here

via Estate Agents or Mortgage Brokers

A common way to find solicitors is to follow recommendations from your mortgage broker or estate agent. Most brokers and estate agents will have arrangements with solicitors whereby they will refer their clients to them. If you find solicitors in this way you have the advantage that the agent or broker may be able to intervene if you are not satisfied with the service provided. They have influence because they often provide a major part of the solicitors' cases and so the threat of that agent or broker referring his clients elsewhere has to be taken seriously.

Beware though, the agent/broker may be more interested to find solicitors that will pay him the largest referral fee than to find solicitors that are the best deal for his clients. This shouldn't happen but inevitably, it sometimes does.