VAT increase to drive up Conveyancing Fees


Tuesday 2nd of July 2013 08:39:09 AM

There is a huge difference between a bad and good Conveyancing Solicitor.

The following simple tips will help you make a decision you won't regret.

The Conveyancing process in  the UK can be a painfully slow process leaving property buyers and sellers wondering what, if anything, is going on.

Some conveyancers are almost Dickensian in their approach and others can seem faceless often hiding behind IT systems (how many have you seen offering online case tracking? Wouldn't you rather talk to a human?), and some can be a mix of both

Thankfully there are many highly skilled conveyancers offering a personal and pro-active service and if you are lucky enough to find one,  your transaction should go smoothly, allowing for factors beyond his or her influence of course.

Should you choose the Cheapest Conveyancing Quote?

You might think it is pot luck, decide to chance it and go for the Cheapest Conveyancing Quote, after all you could choose an expensive quote and still receive a poor service.

You might get lucky and get a perfectly good service at a bargain price but whether you are buying or selling a home, this is probably your biggest asset so it really can pay you to do a little research before you choose your conveyancer.   Get it right and you should:

  • See your transaction complete in minimal time.
  • Increase the probability of your house sale or purchase going through.   Avoid costly mistakes
  • Save yourself hours sitting on hold waiting to speak to someone in a call centre.

The following advice will help you select the right Conveyancing Solicitor:

  • Instructing a conveyancer online is all very 21st century and perfectly reasonable but why not call the solicitor before you instruct.   If you can't get through to anyone when they are in sales mode,  ask yourself what the service will be like once you have placed the order.
  • Better still, call the conveyancer and leave a message.   If it takes them 2 days to return your call it is unlikely they will be very proactive when it comes to pushing your transaction through.    Good conveyancers cannot over communicate.   They know that one phone call can save them 10 incoming calls from clients and estate agents constantly chasing for updates.
  • If you have any specific concerns about a technical or legal issue,  ask to speak to  a lawyer directly.    If you cannot or they do not inspire you with confidence and fail  to demonstrate knowledge, call someone else.  
  • Ask how many people will be working on your property file.   Conveyancing is 80% administrative and 20% legal expertise.   However, it is not as simple as to just 'carve up' the process and give 20% of the work to the solicitor and 80% to administrators.   It just does not work that way.   Even despite ‘case management’ IT systems that attempt to bring a production line approach to legal work, the risk of something being missed as it is passed from lawyer to administrator and back is just too great.
  • A Cheap Conveyancing Quote can be tempting and it is easily possible to find Conveyancing Fees online for anywhere between £200 and £1200 (excluding Disbursements) or more.   At the lower end will probably be a high volume firm where the lawyer is handling anywhere between 100 and 200 cases at the same time!  At the other end of the spectrum you might encounter a more old  fashioned service (not necessarily a bad thing) but it really isn’t necessary to pay Conveyancing Fees at this level.   Budget for around £400 to £500 and you are in the right ballpark.
  • Ask about additional fees.   Many  Cheap Conveyancing Quotes include a raft of additional fees.   It is perfectly reasonable for your lawyer to expect to be paid for any work they do outside of  a standard conveyancing transaction.   (For example in the case of a divorce where a solicitor might get drawn into protracted legal work  in association with matrimonial lawyers. )  Some however take this a bit too far.   Check the Terms and Conditions before instructing.
  • Your client conveyancer relationship could last 2 - 3 months so when you speak try and assess his or her temperament.   Lawyers are trained to be adversarial.   Their training teaches them to try and win arguments.   This can be a good thing when  they are representing you but not if they are so hell bent on winning a point that you lose your dream home as a result!  Great  - your conveyancer has un-earthed the fact that your dream roof terrace does not have planning permission and convinces you to pull out.   Whilst he's busy 'high fiving' his colleagues, a good conveyancer might have proposed a simple indemnity insurance policy for a few pounds.   Look for a problem solver not a problem creator.
  • Follow your instinct.   If the alarm bells start to ring don’t ignore them for the prospect of saving £100.   Go for the Cheapest Conveyancing Fees and it could be the most costly mistake you ever make.