#TuesdayTips – choosing a solicitor when buying through Shared Ownership

Posted 24 November 2015 by Keith Osborne

Buying your new home can be made much easier by having the right solicitor to help you through the process...

Investing in property can be a daunting experience. Not only is buying a new home likely to be one of the most expensive investments you will make in your life, but also one of the most important.

The right solicitor will make sure that all of your documents are in order, and that you understand exactly what you are signing in to. And so it is vital that you enlist the best possible legal advice to make the experience as smooth as possible.

Many developers will offer you a list of recommended solicitors that previous clients have had success with, but you may choose to source your own legal representative. It may be advantageous to choose one that has no ties to the organisation you’re buying the property from.

When it comes to finding a solicitor to take you through the process of buying your new Shared Ownership home, there are a number of points worth bearing in mind. Here are five crucial tips from Jeanette Grady, sales and new business manager of Riverside Home Ownership:

Shop around

Fees between different solicitors can vary greatly, and so it is worth doing your research and getting quotes from a variety of firms before you make your final decision.

It is always a good idea to ask for a breakdown of the likely costs too. I have seen many customers surprised by last minute charges which they weren’t expecting. Make sure you have your costs lined up and your budget planned!

Remember that you get what you pay for and the cheapest quote is not always the best value. Don’t just plug for the cheapest price you can find – this can lead to bigger and unexpected costs down the line. Buying a home is a legal transaction and you need to be sure that you are using a reputable firm.

Get recommendations

Word of mouth is often the best way to find out what a firm is really like and to gauge an idea of the quality and care of service which you are likely to receive. If you have a friend or family member who has had a good or bad experience, talk to them – get their recommendations.

You’re paying a significant amount of money and so want to receive good customer service from the firm, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.

Ask if they are familiar with Shared Ownership

When buying a leasehold or Shared Ownership property, it is important to remember that you are entering into a leasehold agreement. This means that you should ideally be seeking the advice of a solicitor with experience in this field.

If they are not familiar with Shared Ownership they may have to raise a lot of extra enquiries which can prolong the process and lead to a bigger bill at the end for their additional time.

Ask questions

You will have certain obligations with leasehold and Shared Ownership properties so you need to understand exactly what the paperwork you are signing means. This is what you’re paying the solicitor for! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that you are comfortable with the documents.

Form a good bond

To make sure that you receive the best possible service from your chosen solicitor it is important to build a strong relationship with them.

It is important to measure progress and make sure that everything is on track. Make sure you contact them for a progress update each week. This means that you can keep the project moving forward, and avoid any complications from delays down the line.

But bear in mind that it will complicate the process if you get too involved yourself. Leave the solicitor to do their job. If you have thoroughly researched the firm beforehand you can be confident in their service

Look out for our tips on finding a solicitor for buying a home with a friend next Tuesday on Whathouse.com


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