Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions a person will usually make during their lifetime, and with the current turbulent market and negative property press, the process can seem more daunting than ever. Making sure you have the right conveyancer for your needs is a great place to start.
According to Zoopla’s latest insight, demand for UK residential properties nearly halved year-on-year in the four weeks to Nov 20th, following the government’s chaotic mini-budget, with new sales falling 28% over the period.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom! This just means that due to the current economic climate and the housing market situation, it’s more important than ever to do your research and find the right conveyancer for your case. This is a key part of the moving house jigsaw puzzle which you have control over, and will ultimately result in a much less stressful process if you choose wisely.
If you’re a first time buyer particularly, then it’s probably unlikely you’ve dealt with any conveyancers or solicitors directly before, and if you don’t have any personal recommendations from friends or family, it can often seem like you’re stabbing in the dark.
The way in which your conveyancer and their company works can make all the difference between you having a smooth and straightforward experience, to a lengthy and stressful one that may leave you never wanting to move house again!
Here we’ll take a look at some of the most important factors you should consider when choosing your conveyancer:
Recommendations are key
Even nowadays, a solid recommendation is the most popular way of finding the right conveyancer. Make sure to ask around your social circle to see if anyone has bought or sold a property within the last year, and if possible try to get the name of the specific conveyancer rather than just the firm.
Make sure to try and distinguish between any challenging parts in the process that your friend or family member may have encountered, compared to the actual service that they received. Even the best conveyancer in the country won’t be able to control particular elements of the transaction if there’s bumps in the road, what’s important is how they dealt with issues and factors such as communication, approachability and high attention to detail.
Cheapest is not always the best
Buying a house can be very expensive, not only do you have to pay the deposit for the property itself, but also all of the necessary legal fees which go with it. For a breakdown on what costs you can expect to pay and when, check out our blog post – Conveyancing fees explained for property buyers and sellers – YouConvey – The UK’s first collaborative conveyancing service (you-convey.co.uk)
Therefore, it’s understandable that with this costly transaction you may be looking for ways to cut down on costs, and when it comes to choosing your conveyancer you may automatically be drawn to a cheaper option. However, in the grand scheme of things, saving a couple of £100 by choosing a cheaper conveyancer is not necessarily the sensible thing to do, and it could even prove more expensive in the long run.
Although not always the case, a cheaper conveyancer may not necessarily be of the best quality or they may have so many transactions to handle that they will have little time for you. Not only does this make the process longer and stressful with you constantly chasing for updates, but it could also lead to the sale collapsing, leaving you no choice but to start again.
Rather than immediately picking the cheapest quote you receive (we recommend comparing a few different quotes), find out what you’ll be getting for your money so there are no extra surprises along the way, and beware of conveyancers that charge by the hour. The rule of thumb is to look at the core fee ranging between £700-1300, and request a full list of additional charges beforehand.
Although testimonials on a website are a good start, remember these have been carefully chosen by the business to display, so they may not be as authentic as reviews that you may find on a public review website. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for estate agents and conveyancing firms to ask customers for reviews at the beginning of the process, which means they haven’t experienced the full service to completion yet so reviews may be more positive than the actual final impression.
First impressions count
In the 21st century we’re lucky to be able to easily research companies on the internet and get a good understanding of their brand through their website and social media platforms. A strong website is a good starting point, and some factors you should consider include:
- Is the information written in a style that you understand and appeals to you?
- Do they seem easy to contact with a readily available email address or phone number?
- Are there photos of the team members which would suggest they’re approachable?
Most companies will have some sort of social media presence these days, and having a look on their Instagram, Twitter or Facebook can be a great way to get a feel for the business. Although having a strong social media presence shouldn’t be a significant deciding factor in which conveyancing firm you decide on, if you can see that they are digitally savvy and responsive to comments on their posts, then this can be seen as a good sign.
You should also be able to judge whether you have a good first impression from your initial point of contact, whether this is on the phone or over email. If the conveyancer seems patient, understanding and interested in working for you then that’s a great starting point, however if on the other hand you get the feeling your case is going to be lost in a sea of transactions, or if you have to wait for a long time to get any kind of response, we would suggest continuing with the search.
Speed of response
Research from Rightmove shows that in 2022 house sales takes 150 days on average to reach that all-important completion date from the time a home is marked sale agreed, which is 50 days longer than for the same period in 2019. This is due to a huge backlog in the conveyancing process, caused by property demand outweighing supply due to a number of factors including the Stamp Duty Tax holiday.
With this in mind, it’s vital that you choose a conveyancer who you can rely on for speedy responses and reliable communication. 80% of the conveyancing transaction is actually admin work (not legal), and your conveyancer’s communications skills are significant when it comes to this part. Getting updates of where you’re at throughout the process will hugely affect how smooth or stressful it is, and if you’re finding that you’re constantly chasing for updates and struggling to get answers to basic questions within 24 hours, then it’s not your best option.
Still feeling uncertain about choosing a conveyancer? At YouConvey, our aim is to make the home moving process as quick and stress free as possible for you. We work with some of the best conveyancers in the country and will assign one of these to your case so you can be sure you’re in good hands. We also act as the middleman to provide you with continuous updates from your dedicated Home Mover Advisor, and we do all the chasing for you so you can sit back and relax.
If you want to find out more, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you move house.
If you are selling, our new YouConvey platform can not only save you money but make sure you are more involved in the process. With YouConvey, you drive it at your pace rather than be waiting for your busy conveyancer!
Lastly I would suggest you look at our knowledge centre for different guides for all things conveyancing – from how to pick a conveyancer to making sure you get a fair price for good service.