Q. I’m selling a property and am utterly disappointed with the solicitor that I am using to represent me as the seller. They never return my calls and are so slow at getting everything across to the buyer’s solicitor its jeopardising the sale. My agent has recommended changing my solicitor even though the contracts have already gone out. Do you think this is possible and a good idea at this stage of the sale, and finally in your opinion do you think I am expecting too much?
A. Sad to say your story is not an isolated one, having been an Agent for 13 years now I have seen this very situation arise time and time again. Your solicitor really makes a difference; they can literally make or break a deal. When instructing a solicitor I would never encourage anyone to use someone that has not been recommended by someone they know, a referral is the only way to guarantee they are good for the job. I think many sellers and buyers like you lose sight of the fact that their solicitor is working for them and they become almost worried to contact them if they are not doing the best job for fear of a telling off. Please remember you are paying their bill, so you should at the very least expect a decent service in return. At the very beginning establish how you would like to be updated going forward, I know most of the solicitors I work with prefer email to do this and if you do agree something then don’t bug them with calls if you have already agreed email is the best way to communicate. Solicitors are very busy people but efficient solicitors – the type I chose to work with are happy to communicate regularly with their client and are keen to progress the sale as quickly and efficiently as possible, they should also be there to manage the sale for you so that the timing works out in relation to your purchase or your on-going plans if you are not purchasing again. One thing for sure is to be kept updated is not expecting too much. I would recommend speaking to your selling agent and asking if they have an efficient solicitor they can recommend? Agents need efficient solicitors to work with to make things happen so they will always be able to assist in this respect. Personally I would not shy away from changing solicitors even if the paperwork has gone out if you know now they are not up to the job. First make sure you have a reliable replacement lined up and explain what you are doing. Then call your agent and notify him that you are changing your solicitor so they can reissue the sales memorandums to the new solicitor. Then, finally write to your current solicitor asking for the papers back and notify them that you are terminating their services. They will still charge you for the time spent thus far but in my opinion is a small price to pay to get things done.