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Is the nation paying too much in conveyancing solicitors fees?

A report published last week indicates that home owners across the country could be paying £675 million too much in Conveyancing Solicitors fees every year – this is very worrying.

It seems that many people just go with the quote from their nearest high-street Solicitor without checking what else is on offer. Not all law firms give the same quality Conveyancing service, and paying high fees may not represent the best value for money.

Recent changes instigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority mean that all solicitors under its regulatory framework must offer transparency on their fees, something that Fridaysmove has always done.

Even if you have previously had Conveyancing work done and were happy with the work done and the fee you paid, isn’t it worth taking a bit of time to shop around for quotes on another sale or purchase?

Many now look online to get a ball-park figure for pricing, and I would certainly advise anyone to ‘shop around’, but be wary of ridiculously low quotes. If you think online ads for Conveyancing work charging as little as £99 sound too good to be true, you will invariably be right. Many of these firms manage to load the final bill with all sorts of ‘extras’ which ought to be part of the standard work.

The quote does not include VAT and of course all the other expenses, such as search fees, are ignored. They will often find ‘extra’ work that has to be done – at a price – even for such ‘obvious’ and predictable tasks as the mortgage work! Firms who quote such low figures may be difficult to get hold of once you have signed up with them, and some are notorious for delays and shoddy work.

On the other hand, just paying a high price is no guarantee of good quality service. Many large firms of Solicitors do not now regularly do private residential Conveyancing, so although they may agree to carry out such work for existing clients, you could end up paying a lot for a second-rate service, as their specialities lie elsewhere.

But how do you choose a firm who will do a good job at a fair price?

The answer is not just to drop in on a high-street firm, but to look for a fair quote from a reputable organisation. Fridaysmove works with a number of carefully selected top-class Conveyancing Solicitors to bring you the best possible value for money, and with a guarantee that we will beat any like-for-like quote.

Don’t get caught out by any of the following:

  • Solicitors who are not residential conveyancing experts. Many small high street firms carry out all sorts of work, and may not regularly handle conveyancing. You can be sure that a Fridaysmove Conveyancing Solicitor will be a qualified Solicitor and an expert in residential Conveyancing.
  • Firms who are not Solicitors. Although there has been a move towards permitting other firms to carry out Conveyancing work, Fridaysmove only works with Solicitors who are regulated by the solicitors Regulation Authority. This is your guarantee that the Solicitor is not only professionally competent, but has professional indemnity insurance. Solicitors are required to comply with accounting rules so that any money they handle on behalf of clients is kept separate from money belonging to the firm.
  • Quotes that aren’t ‘fixed price’.   You don’t want to find that you are handed a bill on the day of completion which is twice as high as you were expecting, so make sure that the amount quoted cannot be increased. Also make sure that the figure includes any costs in connection with mortgages, or redeeming an existing mortgage on a sale.
  • Quotes that aren’t comprehensive. Look carefully at what is covered by any quote, and whether it includes the fees for local and other searches, stamp duty, land registry fees and any other fees which may have to be paid, and can be ascertained when the quote is made. Such fees and stamp duty will have to be paid out by your Solicitor to other organisations, such as the Government and local councils. They are a necessary part (some would say ‘necessary evil!’) in conveyancing transactions. The Solicitor does not get any part of these fees, but as they will be paid out by him it is fair that he should notify you of the amounts involved in the quotation.

(NB – there will be some fees which cannot reasonably be ascertained in advance, particularly on leasehold properties. These may include charges by freeholders/managing agents for supplying information on sales, and fees payable to freeholders/managing agents for registering notices of transfers on purchases. These cannot be covered in an initial quotation, but your Conveyancing Solicitor should let you know the amounts involved as soon as possible. )

Contact our team for more information relating to our Cheap Conveyancing Fees, and get your move underway as fast as possible.

This article was updated on December 17, 2018 to reflect changes in how solicitors present quotes for their fees.

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