Buying a property is probably the biggest financial transaction of your life. Choosing the right people to manage the conveyancing transaction is an important decision to make.
Whether you are a first time buyer or an existing home owner who is less than impressed with the service you are currently receiving, our expert conveyancer Mark Laird offers his advice on finding the right conveyancer for you.
Compare quotes in detail
We fully expect clients to speak to a number of firms and shop around for the best deal. If you can do this, it is important that you compare your quotes like-for-like.
The items listed on quotes can usually be divided into two sections: fees and disbursements.
What are conveyancing fees?
Fees are what firms charge for carrying out the conveyancing work. Most firms will charge a fixed fee for dealing with a conveyancing transaction, which should make it relatively easy to compare however some firms hide additional fees in the small print, so always check your quotes in detail.
What are disbursements?
Disbursements are fees payable to third parties which your conveyancer will pay on your behalf. You may need to pay some disbursements up-front at the beginning of your transaction. Other disbursements will be paid by the conveyancer and reimbursed by you when settling your bill. Conveyancing disbursements are usually the same no matter which firm you choose to instruct. Some firms may be slightly optimistic when listing the disbursements you have to pay to make their overall quote seem cheaper than it actually is. Others also hide fees within disbursements so always check and compare the costs in detail.
At Emsleys our quotes do not contain any small print; our fees and disbursements are clear. The figures you see in the quote will be the same figures you see in your bill. In the unlikely circumstance that serious problems arise and additional costs are necessary, we will discuss these with you immediately and in detail.
Ask who will be doing the work
In modern conveyancing, firms will take one of two very different approaches:
The bulk-factory-like approach - where you have a qualified lawyer to supervise a team of unqualified assistants carrying out a high number of conveyancing transactions. By processing a high volume of work, these firms can offer lower fees which can be attractive. This approach can work for simple property transactions but should there be more complex issues which can often arise in property transactions, problems may occur. You may find it difficult to speak to the lawyer looking after you and may be left to liaise with an inexperienced, unqualified person who is following a computer script.
The personal approach - where you have a properly trained lawyer looking after your transaction. Your lawyer will be your main point of contact and whilst they will have an assistant or secretary to help them efficiently deal with your work they will not shield your lawyer from taking your calls and responding to your queries. An experienced lawyer will make the process more efficient and help avoid the many pitfalls of the conveyancing process.
A personal approach means that fees may be higher than bulk conveyancing providers but the service you receive can be better value-for-money, particularly when things get complex.
At Emsleys we take a personal approach ensuring your conveyancing transaction is looked after by one of our experts. Our conveyancers keep in regular contact with you and always ensure they are on hand to answer any queries you might have.
Ask friends and family who they would recommend and take the time to Google the firm.
Have a look at online reviews to gauge others experiences of the firm. A happy client will normally tell a few people about the service they received. An unhappy client will tell on average twenty people about the service received.
Emsleys has seen a 54% increase in new clients who have come to us following a recommendation from an existing client*. Our client satisfaction survey tells us over 98% of our clients would use us again and recommend us to family and friends.
Question why your estate agent/mortgage broker recommends a firm
One of the first questions your mortgage broker or estate agent will ask you is o you have a solicitor? Whilst in part this is because you will need to instruct a legal representative to deal with the property transaction on your behalf, they will also be keen to recommend a preferred firm. What they may be less inclined to tell you is that they are being paid by that firm to send clients to them (often called a referral fee).
At Emsleys we do not need to pay other people for our work. Our hard earned reputation means we do not compromise the standard of service given to clients by sharing our fee with third party introducers.
*FY2013-14 compared to FY2012-13.Back to Blog