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When should you instruct a solicitor?

Selling a property:

  • Instruct a solicitor when you are ready to put the property on the market- this allows time to complete the solicitor’s initial paperwork which will include the property information and the fittings and contents form.  This means that as soon as an offer is accepted your solicitor can issue the contract paperwork to the buyer’s solicitors.
  • Provide your solicitor with any title deeds, certificates and guarantees for the property. This assists with enquiries.
  • If the property you are selling requires Probate please note that the Probate Registry can take upwards of 16 weeks to review an online application and 6 months for a postal application. This should be taken into consideration when putting your property on the market and instructing a solicitor. Any potential buyer should be made aware that the property is being sold subject to Probate being granted which could potentially cause a delay.
  • If you are selling your property at auction the first thing to do is instruct your solicitor and complete their initial paperwork as soon as possible. You can then instruct the auctioneer to place the property in an upcoming auction.  This means that the legal pack can be with the auctioneers ready for prospective buyers to view at the earliest opportunity.

Buying a property:

  • Choose a solicitor when you begin your property search and instruct them as soon as you have an offer accepted.
  • If purchasing a new build property, speed is of the essence when instructing a solicitor. The developer will look to exchange contracts within a certain timescale- usually 28 days. You will pay a reservation fee to the developer to reserve the plot you wish to buy.  If exchange of contracts does not take place within their timescale the developer may withdraw the property from sale to you and keep the reservation  fee you paid for the plot.
  • When using savings to buy, your solicitor will request evidence of source of funds. This is to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.  It is best to provide this with your initial paperwork to avoid delays.
  • If a third party is gifting money towards the purchase, your solicitors are required to obtain their identification and evidence of source of funds so you should make them aware that the solicitors will contact them directly.
  • If buying with a mortgage, ensure your chosen solicitor is on the lender’s panel this will avoid work needing to be outsourced to a second set of solicitors or having to instruct new solicitors which could cause delays and incur extra charges.  Your broker should be able to confirm if your solicitors are on the panel.

Selling or Buying:

  • Your solicitors will request identification from you. Provide this promptly to avoid delays.
  • Complete your documents promptly to help the transaction to be as speedy as possible.
  • Ask questions to keep up to date.
  • Don’t book removals until advised by your solicitors.