Selling via an estate agent.. Use in-house solicitor?

Discussion in 'UK Finance' started by J Kemph, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. J Kemph

    J Kemph Guest

    I'm preparing to sell a property which requires leases drawing up
    before it goes on the market. I had a discussion with the manager of
    one of the high-street estate agents today, and he was trying to
    convince me of the advantages of using the law firm with whom they are
    closely affiliated. His explanation of the advantages seemed to be
    that he (the estate agent) could work in close liason with the
    solicitor and make sure everything was scheduled correctly, but the
    biggest advantage was that he (said he) could arrange it so that I
    wouldn't have to pay a penny until the day the buyer of the property
    moves in. That would suit me well, on the face of it, for obvious

    But are there any pitfalls to using a solicitor affiliated with the
    estate agent you enlist? One possible one that occured to me is that
    it might make it difficult to switch estate agents if this one doesn't
    make an effort to sell the place quickly. Anyone know of any other

    Would I be better of using an independent solicitor? And is it better
    to use a local one or an out-of-town one? (I vaguely remember someone
    once saying that there was a good reason for using an out-of-town one
    - but I can;t remember why).

    Many thanks

    J Kemph, Nov 24, 2004
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  2. J Kemph

    MM Guest

    If you use a local solicitor like I did, you can pop in with details
    required, or to ask and answer questions in person. So much more
    civilised. The agency I was with also wanted me (almost using
    strongarm tactics) to use their conveyancing services, which were
    based in St Leonards on Sea, down on the Sussex coast and miles away,
    so that every communication would have been a more long-winded process
    and popping in for a quick chat would have been out of the question.

    MM, Nov 25, 2004
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  3. J Kemph

    J Kemph Guest

    Thanks for the input, MM. But isn't a telephone call or an email even
    more convenient than popping in to a local office? If so, then the
    solicitor might as well be 50 miles away. No?

    J Kemph, Nov 25, 2004
  4. J Kemph

    Jake Guest

    It's a good question and I'd like to know the answer. Is there any
    body or society that the solicitor should belong to, so that you get
    some functional avenue of redress or arbitration in the event of a
    complaint or dispute? What about teh solicitor's qualifications? I
    personally need one who is familiar with planning regs and building
    regs and leasholds and commonholds etc.

    Jake, Nov 25, 2004
  5. J Kemph

    MM Guest

    Absolutely not. My solicitor is fifteen minutes away. I can jump in
    the car and be there in no time. I paid the solicitor several visits
    in person to clarify things and speed things up instead of waiting for
    the mail to be delivered one or two days later, then a further delay
    while my reply is sent back. Solicitors need some things in writing,
    i.e. printed on paper for the client to sign and return. Another good
    reason was that the fixed price deal from my local solicitor was some
    two hundred pounds cheaper than the agent's conveyancer!

    MM, Nov 25, 2004
  6. J Kemph

    Daytona Guest

    The in town one may now have, or be likely to have in the future, a
    relationship with the other party which might influence their advice
    to you. If the circumstances warrant, it might be sensible to avoid
    any possibility of this.

    In this case I would want to know whether there was any commission
    passed between them.

    That's a matter of opinion. I think that it's perfectly civilised to
    do business by phone/fax/email/post.

    There were a couple of good reports on these people in Epsom if it's
    any help

    Are you aware of solicitors bill auditing services ?
    That's my attitude. I used a solicitor I knew to be good who was 100
    miles away for some conveyancing, rather than choose a local one I
    knew nothing about. However, if the solicitor is required to carry out
    meetings or court appearances local to the client, then it may not be
    worth the increased travel charges.

    Daytona, Nov 25, 2004
  7. J Kemph

    Tim Guest

    Another good reason to do it by post - gives you the chance to read the
    paperwork with your feet up in a nice comfy armchair & a cup of coffee,
    without the solicitor trying to rush you through it!!
    Tim, Nov 25, 2004
  8. J Kemph

    J Kemph Guest

    Is it always advisable to get a *written* quote from the chosen
    solicitor before the work starts? That may sound like a silly
    question, but I'm not familiar with using solicitors. Do they mind if
    you ask them for a written quote, or do they say: "If you don't trust
    me, bugger off and find someone else."?

    J Kemph, Nov 25, 2004
  9. J Kemph

    MM Guest

    I took the papers home, read them, then returned them. All within a
    morning. And peace of mind that nothing got lost by the Royal Mail.

    MM, Nov 26, 2004
  10. J Kemph

    MM Guest

    A fixed price deal for conveyancing is a fixed price deal! That's what
    'fixed' means in this context.

    MM, Nov 26, 2004
  11. J Kemph

    Daytona Guest

    lol! I missed that - I've only just heard of bill auditing services
    myself, so got a little carried away as it sounds like a useful

    Daytona, Nov 26, 2004
  12. Is this like Countrywide agencies recommending Countrywide Lawyers, i.e.
    very closely affiliated? Or are they recommending a local independent
    firm who they get along with, and who they know to be good?

    If the former, avoid it like the plague - their interests are probably
    the agents and not yours. If the latter, it is quite normal and can
    avoid you choosing a crap solicitor who does not help to make things

    In either case, due to the way the English system works, you will still
    probably have some issues during the transaction which may lead you to
    think either the solicitor or agent are not too good - this is also
    Richard Faulkner, Nov 28, 2004
  13. What is normal? That the solicitor or agent are not too good, or merely
    that he will be led to think so?

    Ronald Raygun, Nov 28, 2004
  14. I note the :)

    the fact is that with both solicitors and estate agents, (the latter
    moreso), we are sold the sizzle, and not the sausage. As a result, the
    reality is less than the expectation.
    Richard Faulkner, Nov 28, 2004
  15. J Kemph

    JKemph Guest

    Exactly! (even down to the name!)

    That was the gut feeling I got by the way the estate agent was trying
    to push their services on me.

    Thanks for the input..

    JKemph, Nov 28, 2004
  16. I used to be an estate agent and many of our clients used Countrywide to
    arrange their mortgages. Their broker told me that he recommended as few
    as he could to their lawyers, and everyone else to a local independent.
    Richard Faulkner, Nov 28, 2004
  17. J Kemph

    JK Guest

    Why was that?

    JK, Nov 30, 2004
  18. J Kemph

    Robert Guest

    I would go along with the agent's suggestion as long as the
    solicitor's price is OK. The agent wants to get the sale done so
    it's in his interest to use a solicitor he has a good relationship
    with and who he knows acts quickly.


    AFAIK it is normal for the solicitor's fee to be paid only when the
    buyer moves in. He deducts it from the incoming payment before
    sending the rest on to you.
    Robert, Dec 1, 2004
  19. I understand that there was pressure to get buyers and sellers to use
    their "in-house" lawyers, (probably targeted), but because he wasnt
    impressed by their performance/service, he recommended the minimum he
    could get away with.

    i actually reached the point where if a buyer was using a solicitor who
    performed badly repeatedly, we would recommend that a seller sold to
    someone else, (an alternative which had usually been available over the
    last 5 years or so).
    Richard Faulkner, Dec 1, 2004
  20. In many instances this is OK, but not always.
    Although when buying, there are certain things where the solicitor wants
    money up front - e.g. local search.
    Richard Faulkner, Dec 1, 2004
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