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Herc | 11:44 Fri 13th Oct 2006 | Home & Garden
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Buying and selling a house. Has anyone ever used an online service or do people feel the traditional go into a local solicitors is best?


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Solicitors tend to be slow and expensive. Online services are probably OK if you've had a personal recommendation for a particular firm but otherwise it might be safer to avoid them.

I'd recommend the 'middle road'. Try to find a local licensed conveyancer. The one I used was far cheaper than a solicitor (with a fixed-price fee that couldn't increase however much paperwork was involved). Every time she received a communication from the other person's solicitor (whether by fax or letter) she would immediately phone me and read the contents to me. By the end of the same day, she'd replied to the communication and put copies of both messages in the post (1st Class) to me. It was her policy that every communication should be dealt with on the day of receipt. Try finding a solicitor who works that way!

I used a fixed price cheapie solicitor like Buechico above but never again. My conveyance was mostly handled by a solicitors clerk and through weight of work could not devote much time to my purchase. I wanted a quick conveyance and was a cash buyer but lost the sale through lack of inaction by this incompetent bunch. Communication was negligent and all had to be instigated by me except for the written correspondence. Maybe I was unlucky?
Bit of a generalisation, but I have found traditional solicitors slow to start to use email for client correspondence. By contrast, when I sold a house 2 years ago, an online conveyancing organisation dealt with virtually everything by email - except the Contract itself, that had to be posted. I was 200 miles awyf from them and never met my conveyancer in person - just in cyberspace. Worked fine and saved me about 25%.
I would try to get recommended to a local solicitor and always always get a quote in writing before you use them, otherwise they could land you with a hefty fee at the end .. and VAT is usually added as well, don't forget.
Be careful of the word 'disbursements'. Solicitors use this for added expenses and requires a blank cheque!

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