Can I change conveyancer during my property exchange? - MCS

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12th May 2022

Can I change conveyancer during my property exchange?

Conveyancing can be stressful without feeling like you need to change conveyancer. Buying and selling a house is typically accompanied by the pressure to ensure the efficient completion of the transfer of your property. Usually, your conveyancing solicitor will guide you through the process and help you handle the stress by completing the process smoothly.

Unfortunately, you might feel like you are not getting the best service from your conveyancer. Worse, you may have no choice but to acquire a new solicitor due to unforeseen circumstances.

It is possible to change conveyancer during the property exchange process, but it can be time-consuming and risky. In this article, we’ll walk you through switching conveyancing solicitors and provide all the information you’ll need for a straightforward transfer.

 

How does a conveyancing transfer work?

After finding a new solicitor that you intend to work with, you’ll need to notify your current conveyancer of your intentions. Your new solicitor will then contact the previous firm to sign a form of authority. This document authorises the previous solicitor to release your records and any money held on your behalf to the new firm.

Once this process is complete, your new solicitor will be able to commence or resume the conveyancing process. It is worth noting that solicitors typically won’t continue the work started at your previous firm. Often, solicitors will begin the process from the beginning, depending on how far through the transaction you are.

 

Reasons for changing conveyancer

Depending on your current stage in the conveyancing process, switching conveyancers isn’t something you should take lightly. Whilst it is possible, there should be a justifiable reason for switching before causing yourself a considerable hassle.

Some common reasons people look to change their conveyancer are due to:

– Slow progress: If your conveyancing takes longer than you anticipated, it might be in your best interest to seek a faster solicitor. Delays can be frustrating, particularly if you’re nearing the vital stages of the conveyancing process.

– Lack of contact: Throughout the conveyancing process, you might find it challenging to get hold of your conveyancer. If you feel like you’re not getting the response you need, feelings of anxiety and stress can quickly develop.

– Poor response times: along with being difficult to contact, if your solicitor takes a long time to respond to your queries, it can hinder progress. It can be detrimental if you rapidly approach the exchange or completion deadline.

– Expensive: One of the most common reasons people look to switch their conveyancer is due to cost. Your original quote might not include additional fees, or your solicitor might have put their rate up since you started the process. If this is the case, it can be helpful to seek a more affordable option.

– Lack of trust: Trust is an essential component of any legal relationship. If you can’t trust your conveyancer to handle your transaction efficiently, it might be in your best interest to switch. 

– Firm shut down: In some rare instances, the conveyancing firm you instruct might close down before completing your transaction. If this occurs, you’ll have no choice but to look for a new solicitor.

 

What will I have to pay?

If you choose to switch your conveyancer during the process, you’ll likely have to pay some additional fees. These can include: 

  • Payment for the work completed

You might have to pay your previous firm for any work they’ve completed on your behalf. The fee can be a percentage of the overall cost or an hourly rate. 

Whilst many conveyancers offer a No Sale, No Fee guarantee,  you might still be liable for costs if you decide to conclude services. It’s essential to check your contract before instructing a new firm to avoid unexpected charges.

  • Penalties for delays

Changing solicitors can become highly challenging if you’re in the later stages of the conveyancing process. You should take extreme caution if you switch conveyancers after confirming a completion date.

If this deadline is missed or delayed, you may have to pay the penalty as per the terms of the exchange contract.

  • Paperwork transfer fees

After confirming the transfer to your new conveyancer, your new firm will need to request documents and paperwork from the previous solicitor.  Your previous conveyancer likely will not release any records until you pay a fee for their service. They may also charge an additional fee for the transference of documents.

 

My previous firm shut down – what next?

If your conveyancing firm shuts down before completing your transaction, you can instruct a new solicitor to take over.

If your solicitor was holding money on your behalf, this should be safe. In the exceptional circumstances that you cannot retrieve your cash, you can claim with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Under most circumstances, the SRA should reimburse you from their compensation fund. You will then be free to continue to use the money within the transaction with the help of your new solicitor.

 

Are you looking for a new solicitor?

Depending on your reasons for changing conveyancer, you might be wary when selecting your new solicitor. You’ll likely be cautious when considering their experience, professionalism and fees.

My Conveyancing Specialist is a service designed to offer clients a hassle-free approach to moving houses. If you are looking for a conveyancer who can quickly resume your transaction and provide excellent customer service, we can help.

Our team of conveyancing solicitors have expert legal knowledge and can give you the best possible chance of a successful sale or purchase. We can also offer a No Move, No Fee guarantee to put your mind at ease.

For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.