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Conveyancing solicitors: hidden costs


By Joanna Yates

Buying a property is probably the biggest investment that you’ll ever make so you need to make sure that you are clever when it comes to choosing a conveyancing solicitor. Unfortunately, most people I talk to are usually only concerned with getting the cheapest quote. Of course costs are important, but there are two vital factors to be aware of if you do choose a conveyancing solicitor based on price alone:

  • The cheapest quote will often not stay the cheapest due to hidden costs
  • It will not do you any good cutting corners on legal costs at the start if it means that your investment is not protected later on

Hidden extra costs –the dangers of going with the cheapest conveyancing solicitor

I speak to a lot of clients who come to us after obtaining cheap online quotes from conveyancing warehouses.  Here, you need to be sure that the breakdown you are given is a complete breakdown and that there are no hidden extra costs that will be added on later. Clients that I speak to often get caught out like this and this is why it is so important to use a reliable and recommended firm of conveyancing solicitors. Qualified and established conveyancing solicitors do not expect any transaction to go smoothly and the fee they quote allows for all sorts of problems along the way.

A few favourite hidden extra costs to look out for:

  • The cost you are quoted may not include acting for your mortgage lender as well
  • It  may not include sending the monies to the other side on completion of the transaction
  • It may not include disbursements

Protecting your investment - what could go wrong?

As you will see, it is important to get it right the first time. Often I will speak to people who have a problem with their property resulting from the shoddy job done by a cheap and unqualified conveyancer they found online.  For example, I spoke to one lady recently who couldn’t get registered as the owner of a property she had just paid for because there were problems with the title.  Another gentleman told me recently that he had moved into his new house to find there are tenants living there!

If you do not choose a decent conveyancing solicitor, another common problem is that the person you bought the property from has carried out unauthorised building works on the property. This is dangerous as the Council can come along and order you to take down the extension or the building at your own expense.

Why does this happen?

Cheap conveyancing warehouses employ a lot of unqualified staff.  The job is broken down into small manageable jobs just like a production line in a factory.  No-one has an overall view and you will not speak to the same person throughout the transaction. The last stage is to reach a solicitor who will then spot the problems and start dealing with things that should have been raised at the beginning, which in turn, causes delay and extra costs.

How can you avoid these disasters?

If there is a problem, a decent, experienced and reliable conveyancing solicitor will spot it as soon as they get the papers and won’t spend their client’s money on searches etc until that point is resolved.  They will have the confidence to say to their client “don’t buy the property” if it’s not in their best interests.

Contact law works regularly with recommended conveyancing solicitors who understand how important a move is for you. We regularly recommend decent conveyancing solicitors to make sure the same person deals with your purchase or sale throughout and you actually speak directly with a conveyancing solicitor at the firm. We can also make sure that firms give you a complete breakdown of costs and that there are no hidden extras. Contact us on 0808 129 5758 or fill in a web-form to talk with one of our advisors.

Joanna Yates is one of Caven’s most experienced and knowledgeable telephone advisors.

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