These days it doesn’t really matter where your solicitor or conveyancer is based and with the use of the internet you may not ever meet your solicitor. If you don’t have a preference, I would always go with the one recommended by your estate agent, irrespective of where they are, they have built up a relationship based on results and trust specifically in conveyancing and know how best to get you sale completed in the fastest and most efficient manner.
Ah yes, you may say, but surely, isn’t the agent just angling for a referral fee?
The fact is that no agent is going to refer you to any old solicitor, simply on account of a referral fee. It is far more important to them that your transaction proceeds quickly and smoothly to a successful conclusion so that they receive their commission for the sale of your home - they’re not going to jeopardise that for the sake of £50 referral fee. In any case, it is always infinitely better if the professional advisors involved in a transaction have an established working relationship with each other; this helps avoid all those unfortunate delays and misunderstandings which can otherwise happen all too easily.
Another advantage of going with the 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.
In addition, your agent will know the best deals available and will often point you in the direction of a ‘No Sale – No Fee’ option if they can. Because neither the agent nor the solicitor will earn a fee unless they complete the sale of your house, they are more incentivised to work harder for you and together to ensure there are no unnecessary ‘bumps’ in the road.
Ultimately, of course, it’s your choice. However, one final, very practical point I would make is that you need to be sure that any solicitor you instruct will work on a fixed fee or a no sale no fee basis - and the simple fact is that they will be much more amenable to working on that kind of basis if they already have a close and mutually beneficial relationship with your agent and you won’t be left with unexpected costs at the end of your sale.
My advice is to listen to your estate agent and take their advice on which solicitor to use, they do this every day and will know the best solicitor to meet your specific needs best.