The conveyancing market has become extremely competitive, despite the uncertainties surrounding the property market and the economy – and there are now many websites offering the opportunity to compare conveyancing services or compare conveyancing solicitors.
Online quotes for conveyancing services for homebuyers can be as little as £99 plus VAT, but because of the incidence of mortgage and conveyancing fraud, it is important to compare conveyancing solicitors – and also to compare conveyancing services offered in quotes.
Compare Conveyancing Services
Property vendors and purchasers now have more choice in the type of conveyancer they instruct to process the paperwork involved in a property sale.
When you compare conveyancing services, look for companies which are members of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), which has been established by the Law Society.
The Law Society has worked with mortgage lenders to introduce conveyancing panels which consist of accredited firms approved by individual mortgage lenders such as HSBC or Santander.
HSBC’s conveyancing panel is managed by Nationwide but only 43 firms are approved as HSBC conveyancing firms – which means many reliable and efficient conveyancing firms may not be members of any conveyancing panel.
It is possible that a mortgage lender will insist on a buyer using one of their own conveyancing panel members – or if a purchaser chooses not to, they may end up having to pay two sets of conveyancing fees, including their own and that of their mortgage lender.
Purchasers and vendors with a choice should always compare conveyancing services from different sources, including:
- Conveyancing solicitors
- Conveyancing firms such as surveyors
- Online conveyancing services
- Comparison websites offering conveyancing services.
When you compare conveyancing services, request quotes which will cover all the costs involved if possible, including professional fees, bank transfer fees, disbursements (eg searches) and any extras like costs for processing a leasehold sale – leasehold sales cost more because of copying, reading and any queries to do with the lease.
Extras like postage, phone calls, filling in forms – and even a contribution to your conveyancing firm’s professional indemnity insurance – may also be added on
Make sure when you compare conveyancing services that you ask about any extra costs and what the firm charges for these – including an estimate of Stamp Duty and Land Registry fees based on the value of the property, which will have to be paid at completion.
Compare conveyancing solicitors
Most conveyancing quotes are obtained online even if vendors and purchasers use the local conveyancing solicitor.
The Law Society and mortgage lenders are working to crack down on mortgage and conveyancing fraud – and when vendors or purchasers compare conveyancing solicitors, it is advisable to try and find a competitive quote from a firm which is a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).
Using online conveyancing solicitors can be cheaper and make conveyancing much faster, so compare conveyancing solicitors offering this service, as well as specialist online conveyancing firms and quotes from comparison websites.
Some conveyancers offer a set fee for conveyancing rather than an hourly rate for professional fees – and this can save on the total cost.
For vendors, a conveyancing solicitor’s fees are usually estimated according to the value of the property, so compare conveyancing solicitors who can not only offer an efficient service, but also a fee level which is reasonable – or even a fixed rate for the job, which is not so common, but it is always worth asking if this would be possible.
If you are offered a conditional fee arrangement – often advertised as “No sale, no fee” or “No move, No fee” – make sure you know how the final costs will be calculated, as well as any disbursements.