The Real Cost of Cheap Conveyancing

22nd February 2013


by Sarah Johnson, Chartered Legal Executive, Senior Associate

With the increase in online shopping and the latest annual spending figures topping nearly £78 billion, surely shopping for your legal services online would seem an obvious choice.

If you Google ‘low cost Conveyancing’ or ‘cheap conveyancing’ an array of online firms appear promising an excellent service at a cut price. As with most things, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is….

When shopping for a new electrical appliance for instance you will make comparisons and consider whether the product meets your household’s needs and requirements not just the cost involved. The same considerations should be given when instructing a property lawyer. What exactly would you be prepared to sacrifice?

Most firms offering a low cost service operate out of your local area, are you prepared to give up the opportunity to have a face to face meeting given this is likely to be your largest lifetime financial commitment? Moving home can be one of the most stressful things you will do in life, if you need to get documents signed quickly or you need to see your lawyer if problems occur, having to deal with someone a distance away may increase the emotional tension.

Whilst technology allows for most correspondence to be dealt with electronically, your original signature will be required on contract and mortgage documentation. In some cases it may be that you have to arrange for a local solicitor to actually witness your signature! This will inevitably involve additional costs.

Are you prepared to give up local knowledge? If you are using a lawyer local to the area in which you are buying a property that lawyer will be aware of any local issues and can usually deal with a problem before it even occurs. If investigations are required to be made by a lawyer without the benefit of local knowledge it may increase the time taken to complete your transaction.

Finally whilst many ‘cheap conveyancing’ search results will offer you a top line fee it is most likely that further additions will be made to your bill for dealing with anything other than a simple straightforward transaction e.g. if your property is unregistered, if there is a mortgage company or something within the title deeds that requires further investigation.

There are many misconceptions that your local firm will be a costly experience, but it is likely that your high street firm will offer good service for a reasonable price. Your Conveyancing Solicitors costs do not actually make up a great percentage of your purchase price. On a typical purchase at £130,000.00 you can expect that your disbursements (e.g. SDLT, Land Registry etc.) will cost in the region of 1.5% of the property price and your lawyers fee just 0.5% plus VAT.

In difficult economic times we understand that ‘every penny counts’ especially when it comes to moving home. However, your local firm of solicitors will offer you the peace of mind of a friendly, accessible, affordable service. Why would you want to reduce the level of service you receive to save only a marginal amount of costs?

Recommended By The Legal 500 Directory*

*We are recommended for the following practice areas: Corporate and Commercial, Debt Recovery, Employment, Personal Injury: Claimant, Agriculture and Estates, Contentious Trusts and Probate, Family, Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate & Commercial Property.

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