17 Mar PROPERTY INVESTMENT – Choosing the right solicitor for you
The solicitor you use will be dependent on the type of property investment you’re making.
It’s essential to look for someone who can support you through all the legal aspects of your transaction and offer expert advice.
Do you need a solicitor or conveyancer?
Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring ownership of a property. Both a solicitor or conveyancer can take care of contracts, carry out local council searches, undertake the Land Registry, and transfer funds for the purchase of a property.
However, while a licenced conveyancer has experience of property deals, they’ll be unable to handle complicated legal matters. A solicitor will generally charge more than a conveyancer, but they’ll be able to offer additional legal services.
Choose a solicitor with the right expertise
If you have an unusual or complicated property deal, you’ll want to find a solicitor with the appropriate experience to deal with your scenario.
For example, you might need a solicitor used to acting on behalf of commercial developers in office, industrial, or retail. Or one that has experience of housing associations and the public sector. Or you may need a solicitor who’ll be able to advise on large property portfolios or multi-let property projects.
Have an informal chat with your proposed firm of solicitors to ascertain if they’re familiar with your type of property investment project.
Will the solicitor be available when you need them?
If you’re dealing with a team of solicitors, it’s essential to know who’ll be dealing with your case.
Ask them about estimated timelines and ensure they’ll be on hand throughout the process. Ideally, you’re looking for someone who’ll keep you regularly updated without having to be chased.
From your initial contact with a solicitor, note whether they answer your calls promptly and if they keep regular office hours. If you’re going to need someone to be available to you in the evenings or at weekends, you’ll need to specify this.
Where is the solicitor based?
It’s not always necessary to have someone local to you. Most aspects of the conveyancing process can now be carried out remotely.
However, if you’re about to embark on a lengthy and complicated property investment that may require fast exchanges of documents, look for someone local. It can save huge amounts of time if you can pop into a local office with photo ID or to sign relevant documents.
How to find a solicitor
Ideally, you should ask around for recommendations. An endorsement from a fellow property investor who’s used the solicitor themselves is invaluable.
If you don’t have any recommendations, you can ask mortgage brokers, estate agents and other property professionals or an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA).
Online conveyancing is another option and is often relatively cheap. But this is only recommended for simple transactions as you’ll generally only communicate by email with little personal contact.
If you’re likely to encounter complex legal issues, you’ll want the support of a professional solicitor who understands your particular case.
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