Top tips for choosing a great soliciors

Conveyancing is a pivotal aspect of buying a new home, so finding a good solicitor is crucial. Kick-off your search with our top tips.

Buying or selling a home is probably the biggest ‘deal’ in your life. So, it’s vital you have a strong team around you to represent your interests. A key part of this is choosing a vetted solicitor that you can rely on. So how do you go about it?

1. Seek personal (and recent) recommendations

Good old fashioned word of mouth is one of the best methods of ensuring you get a good service from your solicitor.

Ask friends and colleagues who have recently bought or sold property if they were happy with their solicitor or (licensed conveyancer) and whether they would recommend their services.

2. Ask the agent selling the home

The agent responsible for selling the home may also be able to recommend a good solicitor – after all, they deal with them every day and know which ones are more proactive and which are less so.

3. Consider a local business

As much of the conveyancing process is now carried out online (or via the traditional post) it’s not imperative that the firm you choose is local to your current home. However, if time pressure is on later down the line, it can be reassuring to know you can deliver documents or photo ID for example, by hand.

Is it better to rent or purchase your home?

For many of us, whether to rent or buy isn’t a topic for debate. Renting is simply the only option until you can raise a minimum 5% deposit, alongside other associated home-buying costs, on a property you want to buy.

But if you’re already in a financial position to put your name to some property deeds, what should you consider first?

Is it better to rent or buy?

Like any big question, the answer is not always straightforward. As well as your financial position, the answer comes down to your personal circumstances, long-term plans and even the prevailing housing market conditions.

You’ll need to consider ongoing monthly costs, as well as upfront ones.

For example, while household bills – such as council tax and water – may be comparable between renting and buying, current low mortgage rates can actually mean that owning your home is cheaper.

Pros of buying

1. Investing in your future

Providing you’re on a repayment style mortgage (rather than interest-only), your monthly repayments will be gradually building up your equity stake in your home.

2. Autonomy over where you live

If a home is yours, it gives you the freedom to do what you like to it (within given laws and restrictions). You can renovate it to add value and create a home that suits your particular taste and style.

Cons of buying

1. A big financial commitment

There’s no doubt, buying a property is a major financial commitment. You’ll need to stump up significant upfront costs, including putting down a deposit, solicitor’s fees and Stamp Duty, in addition to covering your monthly mortgage repayments.

2. Less flexibility

You can’t be as fleet of foot as a renter when your own your home, because moving becomes a costly and time-consuming process – particularly if you’re part of a chain.

Pros of renting

1. Maximum flexibility

Renting allows you significant flexibility, as it’s typically quicker to rent a home than to buy one.

2. No major financial responsibility

While you will, of course, have to pay rent, you won’t be tied into monthly repayments on a loan with a bank and risk the repercussions of falling into negative equity.

Cons of renting

1. Rent could be dead money

Your monthly payments will be going to a landlord rather than building up your own stake in bricks and mortar.