For anyone buying or selling a house the cost of engaging a solicitor is naturally an important factor. However, choosing a solicitor based solely on price alone is something that should be done with some caution. Some solicitors advertise online or offer a low-cost fixed price fee over the phone to lure the client. Conveyancing prices are sometimes advertised as low as €695 plus VAT and outlay. Once contracts are received the acting solicitor may then seek additional fees for work that was “unforeseen” at the outset.
It is important to obtain a written estimate from the solicitor setting out what is and what is not included. The conveyancing quote should make clear the total cost of the firm doing the work on your behalf so that you can budget effectively for your legal charges. In most property transactions standard queries do arise in relation to Local Property Tax, planning queries relating to extensions or alterations, and queries relating to roads and services servicing the property. It is important to check whether there are any circumstances in which there will be additional legal charges.
Efficiency and ability to handle the transaction is another important factor when instructing a solicitor. Some solicitors will limit the number of meetings and phone calls that a client may make and will charge additional fees for extra calls and meetings. This can be quite frustrating for a client who is seeking regular updates and is dealing with queries from auctioneers and banks. A client should be updated regularly on their conveyancing transaction by their solicitor.
At the outset of any transaction Gerrard L. McGowan LLP Solicitors furnish an estimate of costs which we believe suitably reflects the service required and which covers a realistic amount of work that will be required. We do not charge for additional phone calls, queries or meetings and in the unlikely event that something out of the ordinary appears on receipt of contracts or on review of title, we can then immediately advise the client if there is going to be any departure from costs.
Accordingly, when choosing your solicitor it is important to check what level of service you can get. The best barometer is to speak with your colleagues or friends who may have used a solicitor in the recent past.
Donogh McGowan LLP Managing Partner
Gerrard L. McGowan LLP Solicitors