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Cutting corners on conveyancing can be dangerous

A good-quality law firm may not always offer clients the cheapest quote but it will provide peace of mind

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Like a lot of things in life, you get what you pay for with legal property services.

Of course, most clients naturally want to part with as little money as possible when it comes to conveyancing. After all, they have their savings pot mentally earmarked for soft furnishings or a flat screen TV in their new dream home.

And it isn’t surprising that most homebuyers consider it a job well done by their solicitor if the sale goes through smoothly and they move into their new home quickly.

Of course, all may be well. In most cases it probably is, but not in all.

And if a problem crops up when you client comes to sell their home a few years down the line, it could cost them a lot more than the £100 they saved by choosing the cheap conveyancer over the quality law firm.

We regularly deal with cases where a seller now has a major problem on their hands because of an issue that should have been spotted by their conveyancer when they bought the property.

Perhaps the original conveyancer decided to cut corners to allow the deal to go through quickly and seemingly without problems. However, what really happened is that they missed things – important things that should have been dealt with and have now come back to haunt the buyer when they want to become a seller.

These problems can be wide-ranging but we have recently dealt with numerous cases where the original conveyancer did not obtain copies of planning permissions, or the Nationa House-Building Council warranty in new-build cases.

We have rectified these problems but it can delay the process which means there is potential for your client’s sale to fall through.

If this happens, and you referred them to the original conveyancer, it’s probably going to be you they direct their anger at – and you certainly won’t be getting any more of their mortgage business.

The conveyancing sector is consolidating, and many firms will fall by the wayside. It’s no bad thing for the market because the strongest will survive.

A two-tier market is also developing – cheap and quality conveyancing – and you need to choose which is best for your clients and your business.

Remember that cheap isn’t necessarily related to what your client actually pays. If you go through a third-party portal to find a conveyancer, for example, that portal also takes a cut, so the conveyancer ends up with less of your client’s money to do a professional job, and quality suffers.

When you deal with a full service law firm like Blacks Connect directly, there are no third parties, so your client gets the quality they have paid for

Like a supermarket’s basic or finest ranges, cheap and quality conveyancing services have their pros and cons. Basic brands are cheap and a lot of the time they are cheerful, but they won’t always be up to scratch.

That is fine when it is a loaf of bread because your downside risk is minimal – an unsatisfying sandwich.

But when it is a conveyancing service the risk is massive –your client could get lumbered with a wide range of financially crippling problems, or see their sale fall through. That’s reputational risk you could do without.

By choosing a quality, experienced conveyancing provider you may not get the cheapest quote, though it will be competitive because you are dealing directly. But what you and your client will get is peace of mind that the job will be done properly.

No problems, no comeback, no fuss. And that represents better value than anything the cut-price conveyancers can offer.

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  • Peter Pownall 3rd September 2012 at 8:33 am

    Very good article pointing out the potential obsticles of using a cheaper and possible less experienced conveyancing firm.
    At Morecrofts we have never believed in paying referral fees to third parties and rely on our reputation, repeat instructions from clients and referrals from their family and friends.
    We must be doing someting right as we celebrate our 200th birthday next year.