Conveyancing can be a stressful and complex process if not managed properly by experienced advisors and this can lead to greater risk to the buyer or seller as parts of the process may be overlooked or missed. The process involves different case handlers who deal with different stages and rules and regulations are constantly changing. It is imperative that you consider your conveyancing solicitor wisely.
However, in some circumstances people have to change conveyancing solicitor for a number of reasons. It could be due to inexperienced solicitors in this area, less than transparent prices for transactions carried out, the firm closes, or the firm may no longer be able to act on behalf of the client. Should you find yourself in this situation, it is possible to change conveyancing solicitors to complete the process. Here are five factors to consider:
- Before changing solicitors, you may wish to ask for another solicitor with more experience to deal with your case. However, if you have lost confidence in the firm, then it is advisable to switch companies. It is not recommended that you change firms after the exchange as completion dates are set and failure to complete result in financial penalties.
- Changing conveyancing solicitors can differ in complexity depending on timing. The earlier you switch firms, the easier the transition and less complex it becomes.
- You should let your current firm know that you intend to switch, and your new firm must work quickly in gathering all files on your case to review all paperwork and ask relevant questions to lenders and sellers.
- Solicitors from the previous firm may not release documentation if they have not been paid in full for their works and they have a ‘lien’ over the documents. Closing of payments depends on the payment conditions in the terms of engagement of the firm whether it is a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis or all actions outside of the sale are payable. Cases can be taken over without these documents if contracts have not been exchanged.
- Penalties may be incurred after the exchange if there are delays in meeting set dates due to changing conveyancing solicitors. Penalties can also incur from a buyer and seller position, whereby the purchase is incomplete on the date of exchange, the seller can retain the deposit and sue for losses. In the case where the seller fails to meet the exchange deadline, the buyer can detain the interest on the purchase value and relinquish the contract as well as sue for losses. In the case that the solicitor cannot act on your behalf, the buyer can claim compensation against the firm’s indemnity insurance which can be time consuming and further advice may need to be sought.
The most important advice to note is that making an informed decision on conveyancing solicitors who are experienced and will ensure a smooth process and if you are changing conveyancing solicitors it is important to switch as early as possible before exchange of contracts.
At McPartland Solicitors, whether you are buying, selling or remortgaging a property, our experienced conveyancing team can support you through the process. Contact us.