How cheap conveyancing can cost you dear

As with most things you purchase there is always a downside to buying goods at the cheaper end of the market and without researching the product sufficiently since the quality of your purchase may be unsatisfactory and not worth the money spent on it.

There is currently stiff competition relating to the provision of conveyancing services. Before the onset of the recession, the property market was booming and a number of firms and other companies emerged offering cut price deals on conveyancing services. The property market, although severely dented during the recession, is gradually showing signs of improvement so many of the firms offering cheap conveyancing will continue to compete for business in the property market.

The conveyancing process can prove lengthy, costly and complicated. It is therefore very important that you carefully select the firm or company you retain to instruct you during the buying, selling or remortgaging of your property.   Firms offering cheap conveyancing may sound attractive but it is very important to take into account a number of factors before deciding whether or not to instruct them.

Firms that offer cheap conveyancing deals may not be able to spend very much face to face time with their clients (or any at all) in order to keep their costs to a minimum. This can cause problems since it can lead to difficulty in taking clear instructions from a client regarding their matter. Taking clear, coherent initial instructions plays a key part in ensuring the smooth running of the conveyancing process. A personal meeting means the client can meet the fee earner who is dealing with their matter and can instil confidence in their client in relation to the way their matter will be dealt with. The buying or selling of a property is often a very stressful matter for an individual and having confidence in the conveyancer or fee earner dealing with your matter is very important.

A firm offering cheap conveyancing may not arrange personal meetings with clients but will take instructions by telephone. Without a face to face meeting matters may be misconstrued or wrongly communicated. These firms may allocate an inexperienced case worker or fee earner to the case in order to keep costs low. This can also lead to problems since the person who is handling the case may not fully understand slightly more complicated matters, for example, the implications of a transfer at an undervalue, advice on how to own a property jointly and the tax implications, or a purchase of a new build/plot of land. If there are problems during the conveyancing process and matters are not identified properly, it can take a long time for these matters to be rectified and there can also be professional negligence implications for the firm involved. For example, an inexperienced fee earner may not advise their client on a right of way over land or may not take out title insurance following a transfer at an undervalue. These matters can lead to complications later, e.g. , when selling the property in the  first example, and in the second example, if the transferor is declared bankrupt after the sale to your client.  

It is very important to check the terms and conditions in the client care letter of firms offering cheap conveyancing.   Some will say the fee is a fixed amount and others may say it is an estimate only and can be revised upwards if the matter becomes more complicated.   For example, if a large number of ‘non- routine’ telephone calls are made to the solicitor or email communication sent then these solicitors will increase their fees to reflect the additional time spent. The bargain on solicitor’s fees that you initially thought you would be getting would therefore not be the case.

It is therefore important to consider carefully whether you would benefit in the long run from instructing a firm who offers cheap conveyancing or one who could perhaps provide you with a rather more personal service.

Fridaysmove are able to assist with all types of residential conveyancing transactions and provide a professional, highly competent service.