The job of the Estate Agent is to Sell the Property. Once the Sale Price has been agreed between the Buyer and the Vendor, then the Solicitors/Conveyancers for Both Parties will take over and finalise the Sale Contract. In order to speed things along and so that you are prepared to act quickly if needed, you should now consider choosing a solicitor or conveyancer to deal with the legal work to transfer ownership of the property. You could do this yourself, however this is not for the faint-hearted and should only be undertaken if you have a good understanding of Contract Law.
The Sale of the Property in England and Wales, not Scotland as the Law is different, does require a lot of Trust between the Buyers and the Vendors. Any Sale or Purchase is not legally binding until Exchange of Contracts has taken Place. The trouble is it can take quite a few weeks before this is possible, due to the Search and Enquiry Processes that need to take Place. Either Party can withdraw at any point up to Exchange without any Penalty from the other side. This can be very annoying and can cause expense if your buyer or Vendor withdraw and you’ve paid out for Fee’s or Turned down other Offers. Once Exchange has taken place, it is still possible to withdraw, but will come with a considerable financial Penalty being paid over. Once you have exchanged Contracts, both parties are bound by it and must complete on the Date agreed in the Contract.
You may already know a firm through friends or family recommendation’s, Word of mouth can be a good way of deciding, however peoples standards and expectations vary, so be wary!
You should decide which one you want to use before you agree the sale of your house, this will ensure delays are kept to a minimum. It is sometime a good idea to Speak to Estate Agents Locally. They deal with Solicitors regularly, and many have close working relationships. So call a few to see who they recommend, a pattern should emerge as to who the good ones are in your Town.
One thing to remember is, Estate Agents will possibly be getting introduction Fees from the Solicitor for doing so. However they should declare this.
As well as a Traditional High Street Solicitor, there are now a number of Online Conveyancing Sites available which can be a cheaper option, although they can lack the Reassurance of the Face-to-Face relationship you can have with a Local Solicitor. They do allow you to control the Process from your PC/Tablet and many have call Centres so you can speak to the Person handling your Case.