If you have experienced a house move, you will agree that it is one of the most stressful and challenging life events that you can go through. However, choosing the right conveyancer/solicitor to guide you through the process can take most of this stress away.
We all love a good bargain but shopping around for the ‘cheapest’ quote and instructing what is known in the business as a ‘conveyancing factory’, can prove to be a poor, costly decision in the long run. Why? For a number of reasons…
- File Handler – it is usually the case that cheap conveyancing means a high volume workload. You could end up with unqualified staff handling your file rather than a qualified solicitor / licenced conveyancer who specialises in property law and who are properly regulated, bound by strict professional rules of conduct. You may be told that your file will be dealt with by a ‘case handler’. Proceed with caution! Ask them to confirm that you will receive the same individual conveyancer throughout, not a conveyor belt of people causing confusion, duplication of work and stress for all.
- Quality of Service – many companies will advertise the fact that you will never have to meet them in person and that all correspondence will be dealt with via email or post. They will refer clients online to access documents or for updates on their file. Many people consider this to be too impersonal. We believe the importance of meeting with our clients and offering that personal service. It is nice to put a face to a name. Obviously, there may be times when clients cannot physically get into one of our offices and in these circumstances we can arrange a telephone appointment to discuss and report any important legal issues relating to their transaction.
- Other Legal Issues – Although an unqualified conveyancer may in fact have gained conveyancing experience, they are unlikely to have any knowledge of other areas of law which impact on the house moving process, and which solicitors and qualified staff are trained in – such as wills, probate, divorce, trusts. If our clients have queries relating to any legal issue outside our expertise, we are lucky enough to be able to refer them to our colleagues in other departments or make some enquiries on their behalf.
- Hidden Fees – there will always be firms who will offer ‘great deals’ on legal fees and will quote an attractive fixed fee of say £299 + VAT. However, they will almost certainly have extra costs hidden in the small print and clients will find themselves being hit with a much larger bill at the end of the transaction. We have known other firms charge for services such as completing the Stamp Duty Return Form, arranging any indemnity policies, paying off your mortgage, arranging searches etc. This is all part of the conveyancing process and clients should not be charged extra for these services. It is amazing that some clients will ring around for the cheapest deal and make a decision based on £20- £50 price difference for factory service provided by a conveyancer hundreds of miles away where there will be no personal attention. This brings us onto the next point…
- Locality – you may find that your estate agent / mortgage advisers recommend their ‘nominated solicitors’ to act for you. Again, do some research into the firm they suggest as you may find that they are based hundreds of miles away meaning they are totally inaccessible and will have no local knowledge of the area. It is often the case that Agents receive referral fees from the companies in return for the Agent directing their customers to them. This obviously does not guarantee good quality service or impartiality. You want to choose a solicitor or conveyancer who is close by and familiar with your area. Most people also want to instruct someone who has been recommended or who is highly rated rather than someone is prepared to pay them a fee in return for the work.
So in summary, choose wisely!
Here at Williamsons, we price our services to compete against the volume factory conveyancers, but rely predominantly on excelling in the level of service we provide in order to gain more work through recommendations. We aim to provide a personal service and have in place an efficient system as well as the legal knowledge and resources that will be of vital importance throughout the conveyancing process.