Choosing A Conveyancer: Don't Let Your Estate Agent Browbeat You!
- AuthorPaul Hajek
Shopping for products and services is changing and the way you choose your Conveyancer is no different.
People now shop and learn in a whole new way compared with just a few years ago.
People now, as well as asking friends and family, more and more, use the Internet to gather information, social proof and make better informed decisions.
Sales men and women including Estate Agents no longer hold all the informational cards and decide the limits of choice and what you should do or whom you should instruct on your move.
If ever your Estate Agent demands you must use “their Conveyancers” take note but don’t be browbeaten.
You are in control and can make the right choice for you by doing a few background checks on any Conveyancers given to you by the Estate Agent.
How to choose the right Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor for you.
We touched on how you should go about choosing the right Estate Agent for you in this post.
Those same principles apply.
Again first-hand knowledge or recommendation from friends and family should be your first port of call but if you do not have that advantage what sort of things should you be looking for?
Here are some clues:
How Helpful Was The Conveyancers Website?
Moving house is a big undertaking. There are many moving parts – literally!
You probably have 4 or 5 questions about moving home and the Conveyancing process up your sleeve already.
Many Conveyancing websites have moved on from the days of static brochures and some scant detail of the Senior Partners’ equestrian pursuits.
Do some Google searches and browse some Conveyancing Websites to see what you can learn before having to decide which Conveyancing firm to choose.
A small number of Conveyancing law firm websites will not just have blog posts like this but will have additional interesting information set out in video, infographically, spoken and in engaging pictorial way.
Is the Law Firm a Member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme?
As a gimme look for the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) as an entry point.
You can now look for a Conveyancing quality mark under the Conveyancing Quality Scheme. The Conveyancing firms which attain the quality mark are truly Conveyancing Specialists. Not all firms of Solicitors are able to use the CQS mark. You can learn more about the Conveyancing Quality Scheme here.
Avoid The Conveyancing Factories
Unless you are fan of impersonal service avoid the Conveyancing Factories which by and large tend to be Licensed Conveyancers rather than Conveyancing Solicitors.
You know the thing: You are in a queue –your call is important to us, we will put you through to your case handler shortly.
Problems often arise in Conveyancing transactions ad you need an experienced Conveyancer to problem solve and be proactive for you in finding a workable solution.
The motivation to get you the best Conveyancer for your move has been eroded over the years by corporate owned Estate Agents, who own their own firms of Licensed Conveyancers who are forced to “push” Conveyancing to their sister companies.
This option is usually also the most expensive.
It involves high pressure tactics to get you to sign up to the Conveyancing service as soon as possible or face the prospect of being pestered until you make a decision
This option invariably results in a Conveyancing “factory” or “call centre” operation.
I have many examples, where Sellers and Buyers have been denied access or at best strongly advised against using their existing Conveyancing solicitors in favour of the more expensive “in house” Licensed Conveyancer solution
Estate Agents who recommend Conveyancing Solicitors
Estate Agents who recommend Conveyancing firms will be invariably independent estate agents, owner run, who have worked closely with efficient and competent law firms and Conveyancing solicitors over the years, and whose services they are happy to recommend.
They will also recommend without any payment in return.
This is a completely different situation to an Estate Agent who refers you to a particular Conveyancer.
Is the Estate Agent being paid to refer Conveyancing?
There are some Estate Agents who are paid by Third Party Intermediaries or Conveyancing Law Firms to refer Conveyancing to them.
This will include some corporate estate agents as well as independent agents.
The Estate Agent should disclose at the outset that they will receive a referral fee.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with an Estate Agent being paid for promoting the benefits of a particular Conveyancing firm. The benefits for you can be a more streamlined Conveyancing transaction with protocols of agreed service standards; telephone communication, automatic SMS updates and email notification of key stages etc. and enhanced cooperation.
This option will also normally be a cheaper option than the Conveyancing provided by corporate estate agents.
Unfortunately, in the real world, there is much evidence of Estate Agents who merely go to Conveyancer or intermediary panel who pay them the most.
Conclusion: Who is the right Conveyancer for you?
Use, wherever possible, a firm of Conveyancers or especially a firm of Conveyancing Solicitors who have been recommended to you by friends and family.
If that is not an option for you then do your own research online as there really is a vast amount of (free) information and advice out there.
Lots of great Conveyancing content to get up set up as soon as you are ready.
But just be a little bit more forceful when the Estate Agent tells you who you should use for your Conveyancing.
Remember you are in control and don’t let any Estate Agent try and browbeat you.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2011 in our original series “Everything You Need to Know About Buying and Selling Your Home in 31 Bite-Sized Chunks” and has been completely revamped and updated.