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Why you should beware cheap, online conveyancing fees
In-Deed often hears about the problems people have had with companies touting cheap online conveyancing; indeed cheap conveyancing is an issue on the rise within the conveyancing industry. We believe that as a result of the current economic clime, many people are understandably lured in by headlines of “cheap conveyancing” or “£99 conveyancing”, but only find the decision ends in disaster.
Horror stories include how people’s conveyancing ended up costing thousands of pounds more than they expected, took months to complete and in the worst scenarios watched helplessly as their house sale or purchase fell through! At In-Deed we pride ourselves on being open, honest and transparent and therefore have written this article to help you get the best conveyancing service for your money!
Understanding your cheap online conveyancing fee
Conveyancing companies use cheap conveyancing fees to entice you in, but I can guarantee what you see will not be what you pay.
The legal fee may be ‘topped’ up with other extras such as:
- admin fees,
- expedition fees,
- file storage fees
All these fees go directly into the company’s pocket and should be included in the original legal fee.
To further bring your quote down companies will present disbursements (third party costs your lawyer pays on your behalf) as optional or burying them in the small print. They will then be added on at the end of your conveyancing transaction often as an unexpected and unwanted surprise.
On a purchase always make sure your quote includes the following disbursements:
- land registry charges,
- the local authority search,
- water and drainage search,
- environmental search,
- if there’s any chancel insurance in place,
- bankruptcy searches,
- identity checks,
- priority searches
And on sale:
- official copy of lease (if the property is leasehold)
- official copy of land register
Disbursements can be tricky to decipher as everyone calls them something slightly different. However, all the above disbursements are needed in the conveyancing process 99% of the time. If you are concerned your quote does not contain one of the above then simply ask. Any reputable conveyancing company will be happy to explain each individual disbursement and whether you can expect any further costs. After all, it is better to know at the beginning and be able to budget instead of being caught out at the end.
Why cheap conveyancing equals a bad conveyancing service
Sadly, the saying “you get what you pay for” has never rung truer than with conveyancing. Company’s offering cheap conveyancing can only do so if they handle a large caseload per a person and cut unsavoury corners with levels of customer service.
What does this mean for you?
To save money your conveyancing transaction may be handled by a team of people, which could make it difficult to reach someone who knows what is going on with your case.
A small legal fee means your conveyancer will have to handle a large caseload in order to make money. As a result your transaction may not be given the attention it needs, resulting in months of delays and even your transaction falling through as others pull out of the chain from frustration.
In order to help speed up the conveyancing process you could find yourself chasing and submitting paperwork. It is not uncommon for us to hear about “lazy solicitors” who relied on their clients to move everything along.
"But I can only afford a cheap conveyancing service!"
Do not despair, there are companies out there who are able to provide an excellent conveyancing service for a legal fee you can afford.
Firstly, make sure you receive a comprehensive quote detailing all the legal fees and disbursements. Specifically ask about anything which costs more than expected or anything not included that you believe should be.
Check online for other users experiences. If the reviews are mainly negative, go elsewhere. Pick a conveyancer who maintains a high level of customer service, regularly updates you and doesn’t need to hurried along.
Once instructed, do not be afraid to contact your conveyancer. Remember you are paying them and they should be updating you regularly on your conveyancing transaction. Doing this means you know exactly where you are and what can be expected from you next. Ultimately, this will keep things moving and stop everything falling apart.