By Jo Eccles
Q: My conveyancing solicitor is slow and appears to be delaying the process. What can I do?
A: Unfortunately, the level of service and speed at which conveyancing solicitors work varies significantly, and it’s very hard to know in advance how good your solicitor will be until they get going.
Over the years, I’ve been blown away by some of the most incredible and efficient solicitiors I’ve ever encountered – but I’ve also battled many atrocious ones who have seriously risked the success of the purchase and nearly derailed it entirely. On a couple of occasions, I’ve even had to advise clients to sack their solicitor half way through a purchase and appoint another one – in one case the solicitor was the father of our client’s best friend which was incredibly awkward.
If you’ve appointed a solicitor who is dragging their heels and slowing down the process, there are certain things that can be done. Firstly, my advice is never use a solicitor who is a friend or family member doing it for ‘mates rates’. Your purchase will automatically be put at the bottom of the pile, befind full payng clients, and you’ll have very little recourse to demand a better service. It’s advisable to pay the full fee so you are in a position to expect the best service.
Secondly,. delals are often due to poor communication, for example the seller’s solicitor claiming to have sent documents and the buyer’s solicitor claiming they were never received. If you need to step in, remember to be very specific; if documents were sent, how were they sent – email, post, recorded post, via the solicitor’s DX system? The more accountable you make everyone the easier it is to find the cause of the problem.
If you’re not overly familiar with the process, ask the estate agent for help. A good agent should be able to advise you what questions to put to your solicitor and help you piece together everything. Or a buying agent will do this for you as part of their service.
If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email email@example.com or tweet her @joeccles.