Selling or buying a house is complicated. There are many documents to obtain. There are contracts to examine and sign. This is why property sellers or buyers enlist licensed conveyancers to handle the job. However, finding one can be daunting. It’s often confusing to decide among so many firms online. They are pretty much neck to neck against each other, basically offering similar services with roughly similar packages and quotes. Seeking out competitive quotes is a useful first step.
Most of us go to a real estate agent when we want to sell our home or find one for us to move into. Your real estate agent would most likely recommend a conveyancing company by the end of your deal, during which you have already chosen a home and decided you want to purchase it. While you may be convinced by your real estate agent’s persuasive language, consider searching for other options. It’s quite common for estate agencies to be affiliated with conveyancing firms. That’s not necessarily a bad thing unless you’re referred to firms that offer overly expensive services.
One also has to take note that lenders have their own list of approved conveyancers. This list matters when you have to obtain a loan when buying a property. A lender wants to make sure you’re hiring a conveyancer who looks after their interest too. Banks and lenders have their set of requirements for conveyancers.
The Law Society has also adapted such practice of setting requirements for conveyancers before putting them on their panel. Conveyancing firms can then apply for membership in the same way they apply for membership on the lenders’ panels. Although the process is stringent, many conveyancing companies go through it to improve their reputation and thereby gain more clients. They do it for their business.
However, some conveyancers argue that getting approved to be members of the Law Society’s and lenders’ panel is unreasonably difficult. Thus, many competent conveyancers don’t become members of such panels and miss a lot of opportunities.
This becomes a problem if you’re shopping around for conveyancers, especially if you are obtaining a mortgage or have a debt to settle with a lender. You have to make sure your conveyancing solicitor is on your lender’s panel. Otherwise, the lender will appoint one who is on their panel at your expense. If you’ve already hired a conveyancer, that means you will have to pay for the services of two conveyancers. It’s frustrating.
Another commonly reported problem regarding hiring conveyancers is unreliable service. It’s common for many of them to work for multiple clients, and that’s understandable. They can’t possibly make a living working for one client alone. Conveyancing runs for several weeks. If a solicitor is only working for one person, then they’ll only earn less than £1,000 a month. That’s ridiculous. Having multiple clients is not a problem unless a conveyancer puts too much on his plate and spreads himself too thinly on several sale transactions. You probably should ask your conveyancing solicitor how many clients he has at the moment and how he copes with such a number of jobs at the same time.
The Law Society and the SRA can only do so much to regulate conveyancers, both firms and freelancers. At the end of the day, unscrupulous activities are still at play. Consumers get duped by wrong quotes. People get overcharged. Mistakes happen. And many of these cases go unreported.