First time buyers - what questions should I be asking my solicitor(20 Posts)
We have just brought our first home (yay!) we put an offer down on the property a couple of weeks ago, but I'm a little confused what to do next.
So far we have appointed a solicitor and a broker to arrange our mortgage.
The valuation has been completed for our mortgage....but what's next?
All I've heard from our solicitors is to say they've returned our ID and taken copies for their file.
I want to chase both parties but not initially sure what I'm asking?
I know the solicitors will be completing searches etc, do you get those results?
How often should I be chasing? Should I be chasing the estate agents for anything?
Sorry if these questions seem a bit simple but as it's my first time doing this I'm not really sure what I'm doing.
The sellers should be competing their fixtures and fittings list etc. So that their solicitor can draw up the contract for your solicitor to review and see if there are any questions arising from it. Searches are usually done after this. Do you know if you are in a long chain? As this will affect the speed the sale progresses at.
Your solicitor will want money on account to cover the searches. If you've not paid that yet then get that sorted asap.
Yes we have paid the fee for the searches.
We are not in a chain as we are first time buyers and the seller is moving into rented accommodation.
Is it too much to call the solicitors once a week?
You should get paperwork with a draft contract once the seller has returned the standard fixtures and fittings/enquiry form and initial searches, enquiries and land registry title are confirmed. Searches can take a month depending on council and companies . Are you only expecting a valuation survey?
Is it a flat or a house? If a leasehold flat, make sure you ask about the length of the lease. Below 85 years it becomes problematic as it costs a lot more to extend below 80yrs, and you have to be in a property 2 years before you can start the process.
So all being well you should exchange in 6 weeks and move in 8 weeks. (This can go hideously wrong unfortunately, but theres no point worrying about it as if it does happen it will largely be out of your control).
Are there any dates you want to avoid moving? Ie because youre away on holiday. Tell solicitor and EA and perhaps get a rough completion date agreed now so you can ring around for removal quotes etc.
Try and get the name of the person at solicitors dealing with your case and ring weekly (unless problems arise, then ring more). Perosnally I dont think EA add much to the process if all is going well, but ring them weekly too.
You will get copies of searches - theyre not hugely exciting unless theres a problem = your solicitor will advise if OK.
Try and relax, most chain free purchases/sales are trouble free.
Our valuation was completed last week and our survey is being done next week (seller is on holiday)
Once she's back I will press for some definite dates. I'm more worried that the seller will pull out, there's no reasons that I know of but you never know.
It's a freehold btw
Ask the solicitor what is still to be done and in what order. Part of their job is to walk you through the process.
You can call whenever and how often you like. If they don't want lots of calls, they keep you informed.
Too much fear of solicitors on here , sometimes from those employing lazy dinosaurs.
Well I have emailed them this morning so lets see what they come back with. She seems to be good at ignoring my emails.
I will call this afternoon if I don't hear anything
If you are paying to be ignored, go to the senior partner and ask for it to be sorted. If she is the senior partner,sack them and find someone else.
Generally a solicitor will update you when there is something to update you on, calling and emailing constantly will just irritate them and slow things down. If you just agreed two weeks ago the Solicitor won't even have the deeds yet.
As a solicitor (although not a property lawyer).. I would say that a good solicitor will keep you informed and anticipate your questions, especially if you are new to the process. However, they will be dealing with lots of other matters than yours (I would routinely have 100 cases on the go at once), and need time to actually progress the cases.. if you are calling and emailing all the time for updates then this distracts from getting the work done and everything will take longer (and be more frustrating for everyone).
If they have not done so, ask your solicitor to run you through the steps that need to be done, and ask them to give a rough processing time for each step. They can't make guarantees but they can at least let you know a vague idea - if you know that not much progress is likely to happen in the next week because you are waiting for searches to come back etc, you will know not to be worried if you have not heard.
I do appreciate how frustrating it is... having been through the house purchasing stress twice now, I do my best in my professional life to keep clients informed on their case as I have been on the other side of the fence. But please do keep in mind that when there is action on your case, you want the solicitor to give it the due care and attention it deserves, and it's hard to do that if they are being interrupted by other clients demanding updates.
If the solicitor employs basic customer service knowledge, they will have kept the client informed and told them when to expect a call or email back, and will stick to that. This simple management of expectations keeps the paying customer happy. And reduces the interruptions.
Its not hard to do.
special solicitors generally do keep the client informed but clients expect to be updated nearly every day and we end up repeating the same information once again. Regardless of what you think (and I don't believe you work in a conveyancing solicitors), it is totally unrealistic to speak/email each client every other day unless the solicitor only has a small number of clients and they are paying £££ for a premium service.
My colleague spent around 3 hours this morning answering emails and case tracker messages. Throughout the day there have been many calls from clients and estate agents for "updates". How much actual "work" got done, do you think? Not anywhere near enough.
Our fees are pretty low, therefore we have too many clients at any one time and, of course, there will always be some clients who pull out, earning us nothing for might be months of work.
No, I don't work in a conveyancing solicitors. There are plenty of warnings on here about not using the cheap bodyshops for just the reasons you mention. And if your management can't produce contracts which get you paid for work done, they are fools.
I didn't say 'contact each day'. What I am suggesting is a basic concept called managing expectations. Yes, you will get tricky customers but welcome to real life. Tell the people that pay what you expect to happen when, and stick to promises.
The op says she is being frequently ignored. Trouble is the expensive high street ones can do that too.
For my last three transactions I used a mid priced solicitor 200 miles away as the high street ones wanted a fortune. Efficient, competent and organised, with high tech stuff such as out of office email and answerphone messages saying when she would be back. Other solicitors at the firm were the same.
Your firm sounds understaffed and badly set up.
All being well...... there arent many steps to go through so as Special says I dont see why at the start solictors cant give their client a list of steps 1-10 with approximate dates and outcomes.
Other businesses use online systems which clients log into, this would work really well - ie step 3 waiting for searches, then later searches uploaded to file etc.
The reason clients call is obviously that they dont know what is going on - they dont enjoy calling daily.
I think solicitors like to mystify the whole process and make out its far more complicated than it actually is. As for not using IT (IME) to communicate its crazy.
special if your management can't produce contracts which get you paid for work done, they are fools.
So you don't agree with "no sale, no fee" conveyancing then??
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