Buying a house is likely to be the most significant financial investment you will ever make during your lifetime.
However, with the ever increasing popularity of consumers buying both goods and services on the internet, conveyancing services can also be obtained on-line. Consumer’s initial reaction to this is positive as a result of initially low estimates of costs given by on-line conveyancing companies, which it is perceived are achieved as a result of economies of scale, the use of unqualified staff and out of town factory like premises.
We believe there are three essential elements which consumers look for in their conveyancing service:
1. Competitive Costs.
2. Quality of Service.
3. Speed of Transaction.
Some on-line Conveyancers struggle to deliver all three elements.
Certainly it is the feedback that we have had from Clients who have used on-line Conveyancers in the past, that quality of service and speed is often compromised for the saving of a few hundred pounds of fees. Given that the house moving process can be one of the most stressful situations of your lifetime, this can often prove to be a false economy.
In respect of the global cost of moving house a few hundred pounds in legal fees appears to be a drop in the ocean. Legal costs are merely one element of the overall cost incurred by people moving house, for example – Estate Agents fees are often several thousand pounds, Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable by Purchasers on properties over £125,000, together with removal fees and other incidental costs.
On-line Conveyancing Companies often attract Consumers attention by unfeasibly low estimates of fees and Consumers are often caught out by hidden costs or other expenses, for example, for dealing with a Mortgage Lender, photocopying, fax or stationery fees, paying stamp duty, obtaining ID, Bank Charges which most Solicitors would include in the global estimate given at the outset. Therefore the initial cheap cost estimate eventually turns out to be no different from using a local solicitor.
From looking at on-line forums there appears to be a perception that on-line Conveyancers are streets ahead of more local Solicitors in respect of technology and thus making communication between Conveyancers and Consumers easier. In our experience this is far from the truth. By using a local Solicitor, it is much more likely that you will be looked after by a qualified Solicitor or Conveyancer who will do just as good a job if not better of communicating with you during the conveyancing process and take personal responsibility for your transaction, which will reduce the stress, delay and frustration in constantly having to chase your Conveyancer for updates.
Here at Ungoed Thomas & King our philosophy is that we update Clients, hopefully before they have to contact us, as soon as any development occurs on their conveyancing transaction and to diarise the transaction progress so that matters are progressed without having to be reminded to do so by our clients. This can be done by letter, phone or e-mail to suit the client.
Using a local Solicitor has various other benefits:
1. Being able to have face to face meetings and to build a relationship with the individual who takes responsibility for your transaction as opposed to dealing with a faceless team of call centre operatives.
2. Local knowledge. This is essential to understand what searches to undertake, what enquiries to raise and what issues are important and what are less important, but still nevertheless need to be reported to the Client so that the Client can make an informed decision with regard their property transaction.
3. If matters become complicated or non property law issues become involved a Solicitor is much more likely to be able to deal with these issues than a Conveyancer, whose is only qualified to deal with specific property issues.
4. Expertise. You are much more likely to have someone actually qualified dealing with your transaction, rather than a “team” of non qualified call centre staff.
Ultimately if you are unsure about whether to choose a local Solicitor or an on-line Conveyancer, ask friends or family who have recently moved and enquire as to their experiences. Be wary of accepting recommendations from Estate Agents as sometimes they may be influenced by what commission they are paid for recommending certain Solicitors or Conveyancers. You can always ask the Estate Agent if they receive a commission from the solicitor or conveyancer they are recommending.
Ungoed Thomas & King’s success is based on Clients using us time and again because they know the standard of service they will get is exceptional. The vast majority of new Clients we act for are as a result of recommendations from existing Clients. Our philosophy is to build a relationship with each individual Client, not only for that one transaction, but for future legal issues which may arise in the future and thus any new Client becomes part of the UTK “family”.
For further information please contact one of our specialist Property Solicitors on 01267 237441 to see how we can help.