Pros and Cons of UK Conveyancing Solicitors
Until 1987 solicitors had a monopoly on conveyancing. The law was changed to allow licenced conveyancers in on the act. Most people still use solicitors – though this is probably due to ignorance of an alternative.
Solicitors claim they can help with other legal work and have to have indemnity insurance of £1 million per transaction.
They’re regulated by the Law Society – which should make them behave themselves – though there are severe criticisms of how the regulation works in practice. (See below)
Many solicitors see conveyancing as boring, low profit/high turnover work.
Perhaps because of this they can be very slow – which can ruin your deal.
Solicitor Conveyancing UK Costs
Solicitors will probably charge you £350 plus VAT for the conveyancing itself.
Added to this are the associated costs eg Search fees, Land Registry fees, electronic transfer fees.
You’d normally pay these through the solicitor and you’re easily looking at least £600 plus VAT – all in.
(And – on the subject of costs – don’t forget Stamp duty – if you’re paying more than £120,000 for your property).
If you’re buying in a major city you could save money by using a country based solicitor.
However if you’re buying in the country we would suggest you use someone in the same region, as they are more likely to understand local influences and conditions.
Solicitors traditionally charge for their time by the hour. However they should be able to give you a set quote for doing the conveyancing.
Ideally you should get a quote from at least three solicitors unless you’ve found a highly recommended one.
Fees seem to depend on their firm’s overheads, so think twice about using a firm with a smart, expensive address. It’s no guarantee of quality.
When getting a quote, ask whether it’s an “all in” price ie exactly what work it covers. It should include:
Letters and postage,
Bank transfer fees
Land Registry fee
If your deal falls through you may have to pay the solicitor anyway so check this beforehand.