Legal Fees in property transactions – how to decide to choose a firm?
Legal fees also known as conveyancing fees are the fees charged by Solicitors to assist you in the purchase of a property. The most likely route favoured by many young buyers when enquiring about legal fees for a purchase of a property these days is through a website. The likelihood is that the quotes for legal fees you receive will all look very different and potentially contain lots of legal terminology and numbers that may not be easy to understand.
So how do you begin to review these quotes to ensure that the firm that you pick represents the best value for money and is backed up by a professional service?
1. Understand the difference between Legal Fees and Disbursements or outlay
Professional Fees are the amount your Solicitor will charge you for their services and will almost certainly be subject to VAT at 23%. Disbursements or outlays are the fees that your Lawyer will pay to others on your behalf to third parties such as Property Registration Fees also known as Land Registry Fees, fees payable to the Government for registering your property and search fees. These may or may not be subject to VAT. Most Solicitors no longer charge a percentage of the purchase price so most firms are now competitive even though property transactions are more cumbersome since the introduction of Local Property Tax and other tax clearances which must be sought in all residential property transactions.
2. Prioritise quotes that are presented clearly and use the least jargon
The likelihood is that Solicitors who have taken the time to ensure that their initial contact with you is clear and meaningful, will continue to present advice in that way throughout the purchase first impressions should last. Beware of those quotations that don’t give clear figures or use words or legal phrases that confuse you and are subject to change.
3. Beware of hidden charges
Cheapest isn’t always the best you are buying a professional service so the best way to seek a recommendation from friends or colleague as the level of service varies from firm to firm enormously. There may be hidden costs that you will not be aware of until completion, when it will be too late. If it looks too good to be true, it almost certain. So, don’t be afraid to ask if those costs on the quotation the only ones are you will be expected to pay. if you do not get a clear answer to this question, be concerned.
4. Consider the importance of a personal service
If one quote stands out as being the cheapest, consider why this may be the case. Is this particular firm purely driven by volume, which may mean no degree of personal service? While the price may be attractive, a house is the most expensive thing most people will buy, so ask yourself whether you want a cheap service or a good service? And never underestimate the value of being able to pick up the phone and speak to the same person every time.
5. Developing a relationship is important
While the quote you may have received from an online-only firm may be attractive, there is a great deal of value in being able to meet your Solicitor, get to know them and build trust. This is particularly the case if the going gets tough. And if you need to deliver some papers or sign a document in a hurry, a local firm is much more convenient. Local knowledge is also a highly valued attribute - the chances are that a local Solicitor will have bought or sold a property near to your property. This knowledge should help the transaction go smoothly in fact this knowledge can be priceless as that Solicitor may know certain local properties may have a legal quirk which they may have come across before and resolved and they can impart that knowledge to you
6. Use your instincts
Did one particular firm make you feel at ease, or give you a feeling of confidence or assurance? If the quotation wasn’t provided by the person who will be acting for you, make a point of trying to speak to them. Do not feel intimidated by them or frightened to ask questions - after all, you are paying for their services.
7. Local is best
We believe that local is best, for many of the reasons we have outlined above. So, our top tip is to focus on quotes from local Solicitors who can provide a personal, efficient and high level of personal service that you deserve.
We at Eoin Murphy Solicitors would be delighted to quote you for any conveyancing matter we will provide a written transparent quote and are ready to assist with any queries that you may have call us now for a quote.