first-time buyer

What to consider when instructing a solicitor as a first-time buyer


Buying a property for the first time is a landmark in people’s lives and choosing the right solicitor, for you, is imperative. When instructing a solicitor there are some key considerations.


Firstly, it is advisable to ensure the solicitor you instruct has experience in dealing with residential conveyancing. This is important to give you peace of mind that the solicitor dealing with your case understands the legal process and issues, plus it will provide you with reassurance that they can work with you to effectively resolve any complex legal matters that may arise.


Understanding a firm’s fee structure from the outset is important. You must know the solicitors costs, the VAT cost and the costs of any disbursements which you may need to pay for e.g. search fees. It is advisable to obtain a few quotations so you can see the price range, the level of service offered, and any extra costs that you may not initially have accounted for. You must always ensure that you are comparing “like for like” and that the costs are transparent. It is also important that you consider the fees quoted in relation the service you will receive. Not all service levels are the same.


Considering your potential solicitor’s communication style can make all the difference in a conveyancing transaction, especially as a first-time buyer where you may require further clarity on certain matters. You should be sure that you are comfortable with your proposed solicitor’s communication style as you may be communicating with them a lot about complicated matters during a very stressful period.

Local knowledge

Finding a solicitor that not only knows the local area but is also based in the local area can be of benefit to a first-time buyer. Having a solicitor that understands the local area and the legal issues that frequently arise during the buying process in the local area can be priceless.

Here at Pinney Talfourd, we not only know the local area, but we also offer face-to-face appointments with our clients. This can really assist in building a good relationship with our clients and to be able to understand their needs and desired outcomes.

Seeking recommendations from friends and family is also a useful way to find a good residential property solicitor. In addition to this, you can find reviews for solicitors and solicitors’ firms online from various sources which can be a useful tool to review how previous clients rate their experience.

The Law Society provides a search function to assist consumers obtain details of local solicitors.

Using a firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) is a useful consideration, as the SRA’s aim is to serve the public interest and protect consumers of legal services. The SRA monitor solicitors and their firms to make sure they are complying with their rules.

Some firms are instead regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers and there are also Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (‘CILEX’) accredited practitioners.

In addition to looking to engage a regulated firm, it is worth considering Solicitor firms who are members of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). The CQS is a recognised quality standard which sets out standards of competence, risk management and client service levels. If a firm is CQS accredited it demonstrates to clients and lenders that the firm can provide residential conveyancing advice of the level expected by clients, lenders and the wider residential conveyancing community.

Some additional practical considerations as a first-time buyer are:

  • Prior to instructing your solicitor, establish their caseload and ability to take on your matter.
  • Check the solicitor can correspond with you in a way that suits your requirements. i.e., if you prefer email, post and/ or telephone.
  • Discuss any expected timeline for the entire process with your solicitor. Discussing the stages of the transaction will assist in understanding the process and allow you to gauge a broad time scale to completion.

How Pinney Talfourd can help

Our specialist Residential Property team are here to guide you through the conveyancing process, offering you the best advice to suit your specific needs. If you wish to discuss this topic further, please do not hesitate to contact Joanne Tappin. Alternatively, you can contact any member of our Residential Property team.



Joanne Tappin


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