Property law has become one of those areas which the general public believe is a commodity area of law, and often, when needing a property lawyer, they will shop around.
This is understandable, especially where it is extremely expensive to move property or take a lease, where costs include removal costs, estate agents fees and myriad other expenses.
As against this, the charges of property solicitors are frankly extremely reasonable when compared with estate agents costs and, believe it or not, the rates have stayed static for about 20 years due to cut throat competition on charges.
As buying a property or taking a commercial lease for a shop is one of the most expensive transactions and most important for most individuals or small business, it makes sense to get the right lawyer, not only to get the job done right, with appropriate searches and enquiries and formalities at the Land Registry but also to get a good level of service. many property transactions are time critical, especially where there is a chain involved, and a solicitor that has taken on too many cases or is inefficient or perhaps even worse, has an old fashioned attitude that clients can wait can mean the difference between a transaction going ahead or not.
So, how can the non-lawyer assess who is a good property solicitor or conveyancer ?
Traditionally, many buyer or sellers will opt either for personal recommendation or from their estate agent. that’;s a good starting point, but with the latter there can be possibly risks. The best objective way to check whether the lawyers are worth instructing is now via the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme. this is an extra and specialised accreditation, quite new, whereby a firm must apply to join the scheme and be thoroughly and specifically vetted by the Law Society for competence and service, with annual renewals. If the firm does not have it;s act together or has received a lot of complaints from clients, it won’t achieve the accreditation or will lose it, so this is the best independent way of knowing.