We’re often asked about the conveyancing process and which suitable solicitors we recommend. Because most of us don’t buy or sell a property very often, we’re rightly unfamiliar with the conveyancing process. So, before we discuss the positives and negatives of online conveyancing, let’s first be clear about conveyancing in general.
What is conveyancing?
As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, conveyancing is, ‘The branch of law dealing with the transfer of ownership of property’. In short, the buyer’s solicitor will ensure everything is above board and legal, and if necessary pose a number of queries to the seller’s solicitor before the buyer commits to the purchase. The seller’s solicitor will then respond to these enquiries and prepare the exchange of contracts, at all times protecting the interests of the seller.
In the past, there wasn’t much option when choosing solicitors to undertake this role, so most people would often use the local family solicitor as their default option. These types of old school solicitor could often be slow and expensive, but there wasn’t much choice. The Internet, as with so many industries, introduced transparency of public information and resulted in more efficiency and greater competition. The welcome benefit for you, the consumer, is online conveyancing can offer dramatic cost savings.
Online conveyancing shares one thing in common with traditional conveyancing, the end result is the same. However, it is delivered and managed online and therefore the customer experience is different. Based on the feedback we’ve had from our customers here are the pros and cons of using an online conveyancing firm compared to a traditional solicitor.
What are the pros and cons of online conveyancing?
- Upfront quote (no hidden surprises)
Online conveyancing firms will provide you with an upfront quote for the work required, whereas a traditional solicitor will usually bill you at the end of the transaction for the time spent on your file. The online quote will nearly always end up being considerably cheaper than using the traditional solicitor.
- No upfront payment
Most online conveyancers offer a no move, no fee policy.
Due to online firms using online management tools, you will be able to obtain an accurate picture of how your purchase or sale is progressing. You’ll be able to login and see an accurate audit trail of the jobs that have completed and what actions are still outstanding. Rightly pr wrongly, traditional solicitors often get a bad name for delaying the process and creating unnecessary work.
- Erratic service levels
If the quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. Conveyancing is a crucial process and the last thing you want is for corners to be cut, so make sure you research any firm you plan on using first. For honest consumer reviews on the different and here you can view the various experiences that other customers have had.
- Lack of personal touch
Most communication with online firms will come via email, and if you do end up speaking on the phone, there is a high chance that you won’t speak to the same person twice.
For a guide into the online conveyancing process, Tony Lillystone at Fridays Move provides a useful article that helps explain the different steps and demystify many of the phrases. You can view his article here.