We always recommend getting at least three conveyancing quotes when you are buying or selling a property but sometimes you can get one that’s so much lower than the others that it makes you nervous. Where’s the catch with cheap conveyancing?
There doesn’t have to be a catch. Paying a hefty price for your conveyancer is no guarantee they will be outstanding and the opposite applies. What matters is not the amount quoted but the service provided.
A bad conveyancer will not do their job properly, adding stress to an already fraught time in your life and running the risk that the transaction will fall through or, worse, be completed incorrectly. A good, cheap one will be on the ball, proactive, supportive and work accurately.
It’s difficult to tell whether they will be all those things when you’re compiling quotes, though you can get an inkling. But make sure they have a professional indemnity of a minimum of £1,000,000 and are accredited by The Law Society of the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.
Here are some other things to look for to help you snag a good, cheap conveyancer:
A residential conveyancing specialism
Often you will get your conveyancing from a firm of solicitors. Make sure the person you will be dealing with is a specialist on residential conveyancing, or with a firm of residential conveyancers. Experience is key.
Being told who will be dealing with your case
How can you expect a close, personalised relationship with a conveyancer if his firm won’t even tell you their name? He or she will not be dealing with every single bit of the process – much of it is below their pay grade – but they will be leading it and be the best person to give you support and advice. Make sure you have their name, their email address and, if possible, their direct telephone number.
A growing number of firms provide case tracking through their website, which enable you to see where your case is and the details of any hold ups. This can be a time saving tool, but it also takes away the stress of being left in the dark, which can be a common complaint with more traditional conveyancing.
No win, no fee
A third of property transactions don’t work out. Even if your conveyancer’s quote is cheap, it won’t feel like money well spent if you pay for a service that ultimately doesn’t get you anywhere.
If you source a quote that comes as a fixed-fee you will know what you will end up paying regardless of any complexities that arise, allowing you to budget accurately. Watch out though. Some firms might be tempted to cut corners, so you need to be sure the people you are dealing with are trustworthy.
Lenders’ approved panels
Most of us need, or choose to get, a mortgage to fund the purchase of a home. A lender will have a list of conveyancers they will deal with. If your conveyancer is not on their approved list they are likely to make you deal with one of their choosing as a condition of the loan. You have no choice who that conveyancer is, and subsequently little ability to decide how much you pay.
Ideally your conveyancer will be able to deal with queries outside of normal office hours. It is very tricky to get the time during your own working day to keep on top of things. If someone is in the office on weekends that could be a major plus.
A good Client Care Letter
This will be presented to you after you have chosen a conveyancer, but should give a description of the services they will provide and broken down costings. If it doesn’t then it is a cause for concern. You are only committed once you sign and return the letter so if you have doubts act quickly. Even if the letter does contain what it should, you can try to negotiate the costs.
Trusted or impartial advice
The best source of good, cheap conveyancers is your circle of friends and family. We’re not saying you should ignore any of the above, but it is a good sign if someone you trust is ready to give you the name of someone they have dealt with. Failing that, head for the internet and look through forums and other sites where members of the public provide their opinions on conveyancing professionals.
A source to be wary of is estate agents. Often they will get commission for recommending conveyancers or recommend firms they own.