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I've not had a great experience with a solicitor for my first purchase of a leasehold flat with a share of freehold. I have had issues with the lack of attention to detail, passive approach to following up on items and "finding out very late" that things haven't been done by the sellers solicitor, and I have had poor clarity of advice being given given (often verbal) and not in writing. I also the solicitor choose the "easy" path rather than the "right path" i.e. I have to rely on pre-contract replies to omissions on the lease rather than correct draft mistakes in the lease, it appears there is lack of "clout" and a reluctance to point our errors and see them through to resolution and a reluctance to validate status of issues being resolved. 

When I selected my solicitor, I selected them being because the conveyancing firm had strong and recent evidence of positive responses as an individual and a company on Trust Pilot. I didn't choose the cheapest solicitor and I could see they have had over 7 years of post qualification experience on the Law Society website. I also spoke to the "consultant" solicitor and was pleased to know there was secretarial support for the conveyancer. Nonetheless, I have found it hard to contact her subsequently on the phone to get updates and I also get updates other than "we are waiting for the sellers solicitor". I didn't have any personal recommendations.

So what could I do differently next time I purchase a property - any different approaches?

 

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You say you have avoided the cheapest, investigated their experience/qualifications, and checked for positive reviews first, so it sounds like you've tried your best to research beforehand and have probably just been unlucky. I would always advise using a firm where you have a dedicated point of contact dealing with your case who you can pick up the phone to whenever theres an issue, but it sounds like you've done that too.

I have had a lot of experience of dealing with solicitors/conveyancers (good and bad) through my personal purchases and also professionally. Sometimes it can be the case that a solicitor is very good, but then as a result they receive more recommendations, then they become too busy, and therefore their standards slip as a result. Unfortunately there are never any guarantees of good service, and even online reviews aren't always reliable or relevant, so the best guide is always personal experience or a trusted personal recommendation.

Generally the profit margins in conveyancing are slim and there is a cost to obtaining new business, so firms will naturally prioritise their repeat clients. If you can build a relationship with a conveyancer long term so they know that future business is likely to come from you, I always feel like you are more likely to be prioritised. The same goes for a personal recommendation. If a conveyancer knows that you have been personally recommended to them by a client who gives them a lot of business, they are also more likely to treat you as a priority.

Like I say, there are never any guarantees, but I hope that helps.

Chris (www.fintentional.co.uk)

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  • 4 weeks later...

It looks like you've done it all right but were simply unlucky. You avoided the cheapest ones, investigated their experience/qualifications, and checked for positive reviews before making any decisions. It is important to find a firm where you have a dedicated point of contact dealing with your case, and you can pick up the phone whenever you need assistance. I was lucky to find https://bsmlaw.com.au/parramatta-lawyers/ and have worked with them for the past 3 years. But I agree with Chris_Hancox that firms often prioritize their return clients over time.

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  • 1 month later...

It's terrible, actually. You paid this lawyer a lot of money, and now you have to run after her to get at least some updates on your issue. It's fucking unfair. In fact, finding a good lawyer is not an easy task. As a rule, I hire this or that lawyer on the recommendation of friends or relatives. Otherwise, it's hard for me to trust anyone. I don't trust online reviews. It is very easy to fake a review and raise the rating of this or that lawyer. Thus, not so long ago, I needed the services of a military lawyer. As a result, on my uncle's advice, I turned to ucmjdefense.com. I was very pleased with the work with this law firm. All my expectations were justified.

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