Once you’ve picked your dream home, you have to select a solicitor. For first-time buyers, this can be scary, so we’re going to talk through what they are and why you need one. 

Solicitors (also known as conveyancing solicitors), are the people that will handle all of the official paperwork when it comes to buying your home. They work with a number of parties in the buying process. They will work with you, they will be in contact with the solicitors for the seller or developer, and they will request the funds from your mortgage company. So it’s important you spend some time researching and choosing a good solicitor who you can depend on during this process.

Solicitors are important no matter which route you are going down to buy a house, but they are particularly important when buying a new build property. New build properties can be slightly more complex due to having to check compliance with planning regulations, inspections and original plans, so the solicitors are there to make sure your home is what you expected it to be. 

Our top tips for choosing a solicitor:

  • Make sure they can work with your mortgage lender. Your mortgage lender should be able to provide you with a list of solicitors they work with if you are unsure.

  • Check the credentials. Make sure they are experienced with conveyancing, and you can also ask if they normally deal with first-time buyers too. 

  • Ask for recommendations! Along with looking at their credentials, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family can be really helpful. Knowing how good they are at communicating if there are any hidden charges and just knowing truthfully the level of service they provide is exceptionally useful. 

  • Knowledge of the local area can prove really helpful. Consider local solicitors whose experience within your area could help speed up the process, as well as know exactly what to look for in terms of searches. 

  • Establish expectations - both in terms of costs and in communication. Buying a house is a huge commitment, and you want to feel comfortable throughout the process. Knowing off the bat what your fees could look like (though odd things can always crop up), and how often you will receive communication can go a long way in making you feel more aware of the process. Some solicitors will make a point to not contact you until there is news, and others will be happy to provide a weekly or fortnightly round-up of just where they are up to. Have a chat early on so you know what to expect. 

Generally, you will need to pay the solicitors a deposit before they will act on your behalf and get any work started, so make sure to discuss any upfront fees. They’ll then begin searches, which will be detailed a bit more in our follow-up article next month.