Buying a house is an incredibly exciting time in anyone’s life, but it also has the potential to be an overwhelming, stressful experience. To try and help you through the process, we’ve pulled together a series of articles that will guide you through the key areas of purchasing your property, and point you in the right direction to making the right decisions.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’re moving up the property ladder, the house buying process can appear to be a complex and daunting prospect. With so much to organise, a myriad of strict processes to follow, and complex legal jargon to decipher, it’s hard to know where to start.

So, finding the best possible Property Lawyer to help guide you through the house-buying maze, and manage the purchase of your dream home is an absolutely critical step. But what should you be looking for from a Property Lawyer? And how do you select the right Property Lawyer to manage your purchase?

To help, we have put together some pointers to consider when choosing the best possible Property Lawyer for your individual circumstances:

1.   Do your research

Don’t feel pressurised into simply choosing the Property Lawyer your estate agent recommends. Start by investing some time in researching services suitable to you. Just like you would research hotels or restaurants, read online reviews, ask friends and family for personal recommendations, and evaluate websites. Ask the Practice if they can supply contact details of previous clients for you to talk to directly.

Remember – this is your hard-earned cash you are spending and the Property Lawyer you choose will be working for you. Ultimately, you are seeking the best possible service for your money.

2.   Expect the unexpected

Unfortunately, the house buying process isn’t always straightforward! A whole range of unexpected hurdles can crop up along the way, and this is just one of the many reasons why you need a Property Lawyer to handle your case. Having the right Property Lawyer on your side who you can develop a rapport with will help manage these hiccups when the going gets tough. Ideally, your Property Lawyer will be local, quick to respond and will communicate to you in simple language that you understand – not legal jargon! Find the right Property Lawyer and they will ensure you get the facts and information you need in a straightforward and timely manner while taking care of any issues or blockers to the process.

3.   Make it personal

The house buying process is likely to involve conversations of a sensitive or private nature, so it’s important that you feel comfortable developing a good working relationship with the lawyer handling your case. They must be easily contactable, either face-to-face, or via email or telephone. Consider if you need to make contact at weekends or after normal office hours – do they have arrangements to cater for this?

Try to establish who you will deal with if your main point of contact is away, either on holiday or on sick leave. Regular contact helps you build a trusting relationship with your Property Lawyer which helps ensure you are getting the advice and support that you’re paying for.

4.   Communication is key

Regular and clear lines of communication are a fundamental requirement you should expect from your Property Lawyer. Any home buyer requires a property lawyer who is honest, offering realistic timelines on the process while providing regular updates on the progress of your purchase. Throughout the process you want to ensure that you are always kept fully up to date with progress, and have your questions answered in a timely manner. Make sure you are dealing with a firm who offers all upfront costs, to ensure there are no nasty surprises on your bill upon completion.

5.  Take advantage of local knowledge

It is often worth considering using a local firm when selecting your Property Lawyer. They are more likely to have knowledge of the local area, and be ready to answer your questions on the locality, should they arise. Furthermore, if you have an urgent enquiry or you wish to make a last-minute appointment with your Property Lawyer working with a local firm is much more convenient than having to travel any distance. It is also far more convenient to drop off, collect and sign important documents which are all part of the process. Reassurance that your Property Lawyer is on hand and nearby means you have one less thing to worry about.

Follow these five simple steps and you should have the solid foundations you require to help make sure your purchase goes through without a hitch:

  • Do your research
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Make it personal
  • Communication is key
  • Take advantage of local knowledge

This article was written by Lesley-Anne Gunn, Partner at Dee & Griffin Solicitors, Cheltenham branch.

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