I am selling my home and have been looking to hire a cheap conveyancing firm but, after talking to a friend regarding his experience, I am unsure if a cheap, online conveyancing firm is worth the risk. Should I just hire a traditional solicitor or look to pay a lot more?
Cheap is a word that conjures up all kinds of notions and ideas but one image invariably relates to quality. In terms of cheap conveyancing, many people link cheap with a low quality service, from a company with little, if any experience in conveyancing matters. They assume that there must be a trade off when it comes to paying less for a professional service and thus, cheap conveyancing means poor customer service but the job gets done.
Or does it? With the emergence of many online firms such as Online Conveyancing Quote, the world of conveyancing is beginning to undergo a revolution, the tentacles of which will be felt deeply within this world, steeped in history and tradition.
Service, timing and fees – getting the right formula
In essence, there are three factors that many people buying and selling property will pinpoint as stress factors in the conveyancing process:
- The length of time it takes
- The perceived poor customer service
- The costs and fees involved
Cheap conveyancing – the process of gathering and changing legal ownership of land and built property from one person to another – is beginning to emerge as a serious contender for dealing with some of these issues.
It is, however, important to note that there are external as well as internal influences at play here.
- The length of time
Many online conveyancing firms are making steps in reducing as much as possible, the amount of time it takes to complete the conveyancing process.
In the past, traditionally buyers have used local, high street solicitors, who are open and conducting business on a Monday to Friday basis, 9 till 5. Their service is also paper based, with only a limited amount of paper work being transferred via fax, or email.
Online firms have extended opening hours, and will also have some staff on duty at weekends to field calls and emails. They also approach each case on a team basis, meaning that there is always someone on hand to update progress, or chase down paperwork and so on.
Externally, some third party agencies work on a far slower basis; it seems almost a tradition to make someone wait a long time for a decision or a piece of paper, the last piece of the conveyancing jigsaw.
However, changes are planned to try and decrease the amount of time spent chasing paper and agencies, with a more streamlined and responsive service from the Land Registry who will be taken over the roles currently played by individual local authorities.
- Customer service
A recent survey found that a staggering number of people felt not only detached from the conveyancing process but also ‘in the dark’. Many people also suggested that despite looking to buy and sell again within a short amount of time, they would not be going back to the same solicitor.
The majority of people used a solicitor, with a smaller percentage using a licensed conveyancer and there was no mention of whether one was better than the other. Perhaps future surveys will look at comparing the two, especially in terms of customer service.
Online conveyancing companies tend to have sophisticated website with customer given unique log in information so that they can check on a daily basis what the progress of their case is. This gives a clear checklist of what needs to happen and so on.
They also produce helpful information packs that are sent to customers as they register for their services.
- Costs and fees
Fees are charged by local authorities for certain searches and the like that must be carried out as part of the conveyancing process.
There are 284 local authority areas in England and Wales; all of them charge different search fees and all of them take a different length of time to complete the work and get the information back to the conveyancing company or solicitor.
This is a role that the Land Registry will be doing very shortly, thus the fees will be standardised and, it should take a less amount of time to come across the necessary information.
In terms of conveyancing costs, many license online conveyancing companies are far more efficient n how they provide such a valuable service and thus, are able to offer competitively priced packages. No longer will the buyer face a hefty bill once the house purchase it complete – and likewise for the seller too.