Laura Finnigan, who leads the TSP Residential Property team, discusses the choices you may be faced with when deciding who is the right Solicitor to act for you on your house purchase or sale. You have just accepted that offer and suddenly the estate agent pops the question ‘and which solicitors will you be using?’  Gone are the days when it was assumed that you would be using the same firm of solicitors that your grandparents used to purchase their property and write their Wills. Whilst this is still common, standards are higher and competition is greater, the choice is now well and truly yours.

How do you choose between residential conveyancing practices promising low fees and online access, traditional high street firms offering a local service and knowledge of the area, and larger more expensive firms promising a better quality of service and a reliable brand?

The most important question you need to ask yourself is, ‘what do I look for in a good solicitor?’ as, after all, this is the person who will be representing you in one of the largest transactions you are likely ever to enter into and with whom you will be having frequent contact.

I have experience of working in all three of these types of firm.  I trained in London as the property boom was at its highest at a central London ‘conveyancing factory’ firm specialising in residential property and dealing with a plethora of those now long gone 110% mortgages.  Lending was at a high and properties were flying through the market.  Competition was low and instructions were almost guaranteed.

In 2008 the bottom fell out of the residential property market in the UK, but interestingly not in central London.  At that time I was working at a large city firm, dealing with fast-paced, high-value transactions largely for international investors.  Service had to be of the highest quality and reaction had to be immediate. We offered a premium service to our clients and were contactable 24 hours a day.

After giving up on the London commute, I am now working for TSP and I am able to provide the tailored service I provided in London at a much more affordable rate.

Standards have certainly changed since 2008; people are keen to know that they are getting good quality service for their money.  The pressure is on for solicitors’ firms to provide a high quality service for reasonable fees, as it should be really!

A good solicitor can work for a small, medium or large firm, but must  be somebody you feel will represent you effectively in the way that you require.  They will provide a tailored service that meets your requirements and will act on matters as soon as they arise.  The firm you instruct  is up to you, so long as you feel you are getting the quality of service and legal expertise that you deserve. Remember, a property sale or purchase is one of the largest transactions you will ever enter into. Finding the right solicitor is as important as finding the right house.

To find out more about how the TSP Residential Property team can help email