Q. My agent seems very keen that I should use his recommended solicitor. Is there any particular advantage to doing so, or is this purely for his own benefit?
ASK THE AGENT
Firstly, it’s worth recognising straight away that yes, your agent may well earn a referral fee. But there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that - indeed, it’s no more than you would expect in any commercial relationship. Besides, no agent is going to refer you to any old solicitor, purely because of the fee involved. It’s far more important to him that your transaction should proceed quickly and smoothly to a successful conclusion.
But in any case, it actually makes a great deal of sense to go with his recommendation. Why? Well, for one thing, he is something of an expert in dealing with solicitors on property matters. He works with them every single day and knows the good and the bad, the efficient and the downright sluggish, the reliable and the rather less-so.
Also, it is always infinitely better if the professional advisors involved have an established working relationship with each other. This helps avoid all those unfortunate delays and misunderstandings which can otherwise so easily occur.
Another very practical advantage of going with your agent’s recommendation is that it enables the solicitor to get started straight away on all the necessary preparatory work – and the earlier, the better.
Ideally, of course, you need to be sure that any solicitor you instruct will work on a fixed, no sale-no fee basis. The last thing you want if your sale falls through for any reason is to be hit with a hefty legal bill. And the simple fact is that a solicitor will be much more amenable to working on that kind of basis if he or she already has a close and mutually beneficial relationship with your agent. Interestingly, it is precisely thanks to the success of services such as Team Conveyancing, whereby estate agents belonging to the national Team network enjoy established, contractual relationships with selected solicitors and conveyancers, that concepts like fixed fees and no sale-no fee agreements are at long last starting to become more commonplace in the property sector.
So, there you are. Ultimately, of course, you are free to choose any solicitor you like. But if I were you, I would accept your agent’s recommendation every time.