What is a Good Conveyancing Price?

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If we had the choice, most of us would prefer to do without a conveyancer. It probably appears to the casual observer that the whole process would be easier, quicker and cheaper in the lawyers were not involved and whatever the conveyancing price, it is an expensive that most of us could do without when facing all of the other costs of moving home. Given that conveyancers are a necessity however, we can at least look for the best conveyancing price, but what does that mean?
Whether a conveyancing price is a good price or not depends what you get for it and what you want from your conveyancer. It is not always the cheapest, though it could be. A quality conveyancing service will be more expensive but may still provide better value for money than a budget option.
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Budget Conveyancing “Factories”

The cheapest conveyancing price can usually be obtained from the high volume specialist conveyancing firms who turn over large numbers of cases. Just like a supermarket can keep its prices low because it sells many more products than a local shop, the conveyancing factories can keep the conveyancing price because they complete many more cases than a small high street firm. In the current market you could reasonably expect a basic conveyancing price of no more than L300 for a simple transaction from one of these high volume firms.

The trade off is often that the general service is of poorer quality. Overheads are kept low by employing unqualified, inexperienced staff. The fact that they are not qualified is not necessarily a major concern, but lack of experience is. They will tell you that they have systems in place to counter their staff's lack of knowledge and experience however those systems do not always succeed. Advice will largely be in the form of generic, pre-formatted letters and reports with the person writing them doing little more than filling in names and property addresses. If the transaction becomes more complex, delays often result as the person handling the case will often have to refer to one of very few experienced conveyancers for guidance and that person will often not be readily available. As well as delays, expect the conveyancing price to increase sharply too.

These firms are typically under staffed for the workload they have, which means they will not be able to spend a great deal of time on your case. You are unlikely to meet anyone from the firm in person and correspondence will routinely be dealt with many days after it is received.

Having said all of the above, if your transaction is simple, you have a fairly laid back approach and you want a cheap conveyancing price then these types of firm may be for you.


Traditional High Volume Law Firms

These are the “half way houses” if you like, somewhere between the conveyancing factories and the small high street law firms in both conveyancing price and quality. You are likely to pay between L300 - L500 in fees and although the person handling your case may not be qualified, he is likely to be experienced and to be more directly supervised by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

Workloads will, like the budget firms, be high and again it is unlikely that all correspondence will be dealt with immediately or that you will often be able to speak to the person dealing with your case. There is still a risk that you will end up with a conveyancer who is less experienced though this is less likely.

You will not usually ever actually meet anyone from the firm. The quality of conveyancing advice will generally be of a good standard and will be more tailored to your case, though there will still be some standard letters and reports.

Complex cases should not be a problem but will often pay a higher conveyancing price than originally quoted. It is unlikely your conveyancer will be able to advise you on any other area of the law.


Traditional High Street Firms

Traditional high street firms, with a small conveyancing department or with a solicitor who does a range of private client work including conveyancing, will usually demand the highest conveyancing price, perhaps L500 up to L800 (in London prices will be higher).

For the extra money you will usually have a solicitor handling your case though beware, much of the day to day work may be done by a legal secretary, albeit an experienced one. You will usually deal with the firm in person. The quality of advice should be higher than the budget option, though necessarily higher than the traditional volume firm despite the higher conveyancing price.

The real advantages are twofold. First, the hight street solicitor will have less cases therefore more time to devote to yours and second, he will generally be able to offer you advice on other areas of the law (though this may not be included in the conveyancing price).

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