You don't have to pay through the nose for good conveyancing.
The problem is that it's difficult to know which of the bargain conveyancing solicitors also offer a 1st-class service.
Whether you find your conveyancing service online or off, this is the checklist you should judge any cheap conveyancing solicitor against:
When you choose a conveyancing solicitor, experience is more important than qualifications.
Just because a fully-fledged Solicitor handles your case, it doesn't mean they'll do a good job.
Solicitors that specialize in litigation, divorce, family, employment or even commercial property law seldom provide the best residential conveyancing service.
Some of the cheapest conveyancing firms operate under a "dedicated team" set-up.
All admin tasks are delegated to paralegals, trainee conveyancers or data processors.
A qualified conveyancing Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer then checks everything.
In small - medium sized conveyancing firms this tends to work well as the firms caseload is manageable enough to maintain a personal conveyancing service.
Team members tend to be well trained experienced and closely supervised.
However, in our opinion the 'dedicated team' system falls apart in the large conveyancing factories (providers of cut-priced volume conveyancing services).
These cut-priced legal call centres often have 'team members' that are little more than glorified computer operators.
Their websites swear blind that they provide a speedy and personal conveyancing service however, we have witnessed many instances where this is simply not the case.
In our opinion we'd say that conveyancing factories are fine for simple stuff, like re-mortgaging work but for anything more complicated (especially the sale or purchase of a leasehold property) you might be better-off going elsewhere.
This separates the progressive conveyancing solicitors from the dinosaurs.
These technological advances are of huge benefit to you because every step of your transaction is recorded online via a dedicated website (you're given a password & username).
You can check the progress of your case at any time and know immediately if:
Online conveyancing firms using the latest technology will save you time, money and stress.
They provide a more efficient and cheaper conveyancing service than a stuffy high street law firm stuck in the Dark Ages.
Because 1 in 3 sales fail, choosing a conveyancing firm that has a 'no move, no fee' billing policy is a must!
With odds like that, what may start out as a bargain conveyancing quote can quickly become much more expensive.
In the past, conveyancing solicitors have charged for conveyancing work on an hourly basis. Not surprisingly this allows bills to escalate out of control.
A 'Fixed-Fee Guarantee' lets you budget accurately. Even if you run into unexpected complications, you're protected.
With a fixed price conveyancing firm, the initial conveyancing quote will be the fee you'll pay.
If you are buying with a mortgage this is important because there's a certain amount of legal work that needs to be done on your lender's behalf.
If your lender does not approve your conveyancing solicitor, your lender will instruct one that is.
This will be an extra cost that you have no control over (there are no set fee scales for solicitors).
What's more, having two solicitors working on your transaction will almost certainly add to the time it takes to exchange contracts.
This is not essential but it can make life easier. Check that someone familiar with your case can be contacted outside of office hours.
It is possible to find an efficient and cheap conveyancing provider that keeps the phones manned until 7-8pm weekday evenings and most of the weekend.
When you've chosen your conveyancing Solicitor, the first thing they should send you is a client care letter.
The letter must contain a conveyancing costs breakdown and description of the service they'll provide. If these things are not in the letter alarm bells should ring!
You're only committed once you return the letter signed. Read the letter carefully and double check everything is as you expected.
You could even consider ringing the firm to sound them out:
Remember the contents of the letter are negotiable so never commit to using any cheap conveyancing service until you're 100% happy.
When choosing your conveyancing service, it's always best to get a recommendation from someone that's actually used the service.
Failing that, a good way to checkout any company is to 'Google' the firms name and see what people are saying about them.
Warning! Always think carefully before using any conveyancing solicitor recommended to you by an estate agent!
Often their recommendations will be overpriced. This is due to the substantial referral fees that most estate agents have negotiated with their conveyancing partner.
It's no surprise that one of the UK's largest firm of conveyancing solicitors is also owned by one of the UK's largest Estate Agency chains.
This is a very profitable relationship however, ask around and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone (who's used the service) that would recommend it to friends or family.
Don't underestimate how pushy Estate Agents can be to sell you services that line their own pockets.
Here's a little quote we stumbled across on the recruitment page of one of the UK's largest Estate Agency groups (we've blocked out the company name):
With large referral fees to be made, an estate agent's recommendation may well be serving their best interests - not yours!
So you see, for many estate agents, "cross-selling" (as it's know) is in their job description - so beware, choose your conveyancing service wisely!