When is the best time to contact a solicitor for a conveyancing quote?

When buying or selling a property it can be difficult to know the process, especially if it’s your first time. Here, Kieran Egan looks at the best time to contact a solicitor for a conveyancing quote and explains why you may benefit from starting relationships early.

Most people tend to approach and contact a conveyancing Solicitor once they have either placed an offer on a property they are looking to purchase, following a viewing with an estate agent, or when they have accepted an offer from a perspective buyer on a property they are looking to sell. However, you can instruct a Solicitor much earlier than the offer stage. Not only so you can build a professional relationship with a chosen Solicitor, but to also get a cost estimate in advance of the likely legal fees involved from the outset. If you instruct a broker to obtain the best mortgage deal on the market for a proposed purchase, the broker may look for cost estimates on your behalf or recommend solicitors in their network.

Most conveyancing Solicitors usually offer a fixed fee cost estimate based on the unique transactional circumstances and information provided. The Solicitor will need information such as the sale or purchase price, address of the transaction tenure of the property, whether the property is Freehold or Leasehold and if there is an existing mortgage or looking to fund the purchase by obtaining a mortgage.

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Always inform the Solicitor providing you with a cost estimate any additional information such as if the property is a new build or using gifted funds from family or friends are involved, if the property is a buy to let or shared ownership purchase so they can quote you as accurately as possible. The quote will include an itemised list of legal fees plus vat and any anticipated third-party disbursements such as searches, land registration fees and stamp duty if applicable. Stamp duty or Land transaction tax is calculated based on the price of the property and the individuals’ personal circumstances. We do not provide tax advice! Should you need specialist advise please seek advise from a certified tax adviser or accountant.

Obtaining a cost estimate with a chosen Solicitor either before or when the property is listed on the market or even prior to making an offer on a chosen new home, will also give you the opportunity to ask questions about the conveyancing process, what is exactly involved and what to expect at the  various stages of the conveyancing transaction, especially if you are a first-time buyers and not familiar process or what to expect.

Approaching and instructing a Solicitor as early as possible in the process also allows you to complete all initial client onboarding documents, property protocol forms and digital client Identification verification processes in good time for when offers are accepted. This will allow your Solicitor to begin the legal work without any delays in initial client sign up paperwork once the Memorandum of Sale has been received to either issue the draft contracts to the purchasers Solicitors or raise enquiries with the vendors Solicitors and commission searches.

By Kieran Egan