Should you use a local conveyancer?

The short answer is that you don’t need to use a local conveyancer.  You can choose somebody 100 miles away in another city if you want to. And, if you’re moving cities, you might choose to instruct somebody in the city you’re moving to. We often act for clients all around the country.

But there are a few advantages to choosing a conveyancer who is close to your current location. We’ll have a look at a few things to consider when you’re choosing whether or not to instruct a local conveyancer. Then you have all the facts you need to make the right choice for you.

Verifying your identity

The first thing your solicitor will need to do at the start of your instruction is verify your identity. That’s usually done by reviewing your passport and proof of address. Solicitors sometimes prefer to do this face-to-face as an extra check to confirm that you are who you say you are. If you’re close by, it’s much less hassle to pop into the office to do this.

However, nowadays, we have technology that carry out all the required checks, so it’s not necessary to do this in person anymore. That suits a lot of people with busy lives, and who are comfortable with technology.

Signing documents

It used to be the case that you’d have to go into your solicitor’s office to sign all the relevant documents in the property transaction. That was one benefit of instructing someone local. You wouldn’t have to take too much time out of your busy schedule to sign the documents, especially if you had to take multiple trips to sign different documents at different times.

As technology has moved on, documents can now be signed electronically. If you’re happy reviewing documents online, and providing electronic signatures, then your solicitor can be based anywhere really.

In person meetings

Of course, when you instruct a solicitor who is close to you, it’s much easier to have in-person meetings. That said, you can go through a whole property transaction without ever meeting your solicitor face-to-face. Most of our communication with you will be on the phone or via email, and we can send hard copy documents to you in the post.

But in-person meetings still have their place. If there’s a complicated issue in the conveyancing, or a particularly confusing clause in the contract, sometimes it helps to talk it through in person (or via a zoom or teams online call).

We also recognise that buying a house is a massive financial decision. And it can help to have a personal touch in the process. When you meet your solicitor face to face, it establishes that rapport and trust that you need to feel comfortable throughout the process.

Knowledge of the local market

Knowledge of the local market can help with some of the nuances of the conveyancing process. For example, there are certain areas in Gloucestershire or Cornwall where coal mining searches are particularly important. That’s not necessarily a ‘run-of-the-mill’ search, but the impact of coal mining could affect subsidence in your property, so your solicitor needs to know whether or not they need to do that search.

Perhaps there are sensitivities about a nearby conservation area, or there may be planning restrictions in the local vicinity. A local solicitor will have their finger on the pulse with these issues and can advise you on your options.

Local solicitors will also have a feel of what’s reasonable in leasehold contracts. They see these leases all the time in similar properties in the city. They know if the ground rent and the service charge is close to the ‘going rate’. They’ll also be able to spot any clauses that are unusual for the area.

Making a choice that’s right for you

When you’re thinking about whether to choose a solicitor who is close to your current location, think about:

  • Do you prefer in-person meetings?
  • Would you prefer to review and sign documents in person, rather than online?
  • Is the home you’re buying also in the local area?
  • Do you want to be able to meet your solicitor to establish trust and rapport?

If the answer to those questions is ‘yes’, then a local solicitor is probably a better choice for you than someone further away.

If you’re moving to a new city, you might consider instructing a solicitor in the city you’re moving to. They’ll have the knowledge of the local market, which we discussed above. But you’ll need to be comfortable with signing documents electronically, and doing most of your communication on the phone and with emails.

If you’re looking for a local solicitor in the Bristol area, then we can help you. Please get in touch for a friendly chat or no obligation quote, at any time.