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10 Helpful tips for choosing a conveyancing lawyer

Download this guide

This article has been adapted from an illustrated document you can download here.

1. Think about the type of conveyancing service you are buying

In short – what do you need and want from your Conveyancing solicitor?

  • Who will have the responsibility for your transaction?
  • What are their qualifications?
  • Will they handle your case personally or rely on unqualified assistants?
  • How easy will it be to communicate with your lawyer?
  • Can you call in and see them?
    Are you at risk if anything unusual or unexpected crops up?

At Wards we

  • have highly qualified and experienced conveyancers who will provide you with a quality personal service.
  • are local, with an extensive branch network, offering friendly local advice – clients are welcome to drop in.
  • are easy to work with and accessible, irrespective of where you live.
  • hold the Law Society Conveyancing Quality accreditation.

2. Shop Around

Get a few quotes before making a decision, but make sure they are like-for-like and compare the charges.
At Wards we are happy to supply you with an estimate of our charges by email, or post.

3. Cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean best value

“While it’s a good idea to get quotes, remember that buying a house is in all likelihood the biggest financial outlay you’ll have in your life. By all means make sure that you’ve got a competitive quote but don’t become consumed with getting the cheapest.

“A few quotes are usually enough. If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a house, in the overall scheme of things once you’ve got a few quotes to compare ask yourself whether it is a good use of your time to spend days ringing around twenty lawyers in an effort to save maybe £20 on legal fees?”

So said the Legal Ombudsman…
At Wards we do not expect to be the cheapest. We do aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. We can secure searches quickly and at the most competitive prices and we do not use high risk ‘personal’ search providers.

4. Beware of hidden costs, disbursements and VAT

“Beware of quotes that look a lot cheaper than others – as the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

If you are having a mortgage can the firm act for the lender as well or will there be an additional charge?
At Wards we supply clear costs information from the start, with no hidden extras. We can act for all lenders. We do not disguise our true charge by adding in nebulous charges for ‘archive fees’ setting up data records for clients and so forth. We do not charge extra for work which should be part of the service – such as raising or replying to enquiries raised on your transaction.

5. Check what costs you’ll have to pay if the sale falls through

If you are considering a no move no fee ‘deal’ check this carefully. The Legal Ombudsman, in his report, gives examples of cases which proved to be anything but what the client expected.

At Wards we reserve the right to charge for work on your case if it does not proceed. This is based on the amount of work done, in proportion to our original estimate. This then fairly balances our clients interests with our own. We are usually happy to carry forward any charge where the property is to be re-marketed, to the completion invoice.

6. Be wary of referrals and recommendations

Remember you are free to choose. You do not have to follow the recommendation of your estate agent. Be wary of recommendations which are not based on the value of the conveyancer but rather on the amount they will pay to them if they secure your work. Do not be afraid to ask!

At Wards we do not pay estate agents for referring any work to us. These days we are fairly unique in this respect.

7. Communication is key

We agree fully that this is a two way street. We provide information at the commencement of the transaction to help with common issues, but are always available by telephone and email to discuss any concerns. Some clients express reticence about troubling us, but it is what we are here for!

8. Ask questions

“There is no such thing as a silly question” 

At Wards we could not agree more. If our client is unsure or worried about anything, we are the experts and here to help.

9. Be sure of what you are buying

We will always send you a copy of the title plan and show you what is included in the sale to you.

10. Remember you have a right to complain

At Wards we aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service however if a client is unhappy with any aspect of our service we have a complaints procedure in place, with a dedicated client care manager, and details are provided in our initial terms of business and subsequent correspondence.

For further information please contact Rebecca Stuart.

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    January 2021: Covid-19 arrangements

    Wards Solicitors remains open for business during the national lockdown and we are taking on new cases.  We are available for video call and telephone meetings but cannot currently offer face to face meetings with clients except in some specific emergency situations and at court hearings.

    If you have documents for us, including for ID certification, please deliver them to our letterbox at the office handling your case.

    How to get in touch:

    • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
    • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, Mondays to Fridays.
    • Alternatively, email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

    A list of our 12 branches is available here. Our telephones lines are operating as normal behind closed doors.

    Important Warning: Cyber-crime is very common including email interception. We will never tell you of changes to our bank details by email.  Please be aware that we accept no responsibility if you transfer money to a bank account which is not ours. If you receive an email giving our bank account details, please telephone us immediately without replying to the email or sending money.