What Is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the steps involved when transferring legal ownership from the seller of a property to a buyer.
This includes making sure all the legalities of the deal are in place, checking for risks associated with the house (due diligence) and ensuring that contracts are fair and legal.
Do I Need Help With Conveyancing?
Yes. Some cash buyers opt to do their own conveyancing, but most do not have the legal expertise to minimise the risk of expensive and stressful mistakes.
How Much Does Conveyancing Cost In The UK?
This depends on the property and the area in which you're buying. The Money Advice Service puts legal fees at around £850 to £1,500 (including VAT), plus £250 to £300 for local searches. You can contact us to get a more accurate quote.
The Lowest Cost Versus The Best Deal
A mistake that many home-buyers make is equating "best value" with "cheapest". This is seldom the case.
Many online conveyancers will offer prices that seem too good to be true - and, as you'd suspect, that means they usually are. Diligent, thorough conveyancing means many hours of work and careful handling of your sensitive information: this can rarely be done in bulk or on the cheap.
If you have received a low quote from an online company, we highly recommend that you perform a Google search on "COMPANY X problems", or search some relevant forums (https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com is a good place to start). This is the fastest way to discover any common issues with a firm that has provided you with a suspiciously low quote.
Looking Out For Hidden Charges When Buying A Property
Another facet of "too good to be true" prices is the hidden cost. Many home-buyers are surprised when they are promised one thing over the phone and receive quite another in a contract.
Some unfortunate buyers lose a lot of money because they take the sales rep at their word and don't read the small print, which includes ‘additional’ services, such as mortgage redemptions and SDLT returns, that boost the price significantly.
Using A Local Conveyancer
Most people experienced in home-buying recommend that you find a firm of solicitors close to the property you want to buy. This is for several reasons:
1. You Can Benefit From Face-To-Face Meetings
They are invaluable when arranging any kind of legal services. There are some things that are far easier to explain in person, avoiding common misunderstandings that happen in email or phone correspondence.
2. The Conveyancer Will Know The Area
This is beneficial in a number of ways.
Property markets will vary from town to town and even street to street - and a local solicitor will know the problems likely to arise in each of those micro-markets.
They will also have contacts throughout the area who can help speed along the process of due diligence, which means getting the keys to your new property in the shortest amount of time.
3. Local Trust Is Invaluable
The reasoning we hear the most from clients boils down to old-fashioned trust. Local conveyancers don't stay in business long unless they are trustworthy and effective. It is also far easier to source reliable testimony on your chosen firm when they are based locally.
Conveyancing costs in the UK vary, but if you have received an extraordinarily low quote from an online company, it is worth taking caution. Not only could you lose the biggest advantages of a local conveyancer, you also put yourself at risk of unscrupulous practices.