Expert View: The cost of conveyancing – reputation and specialism matter

Kirstie Tompkins, HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors

Kirstie Tompkins, HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors - Credit: Archant

Kirstie Tompkins, licensed conveyancer at HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors, advises on choosing the best conveyancing partner to meet your specific needs.

We all recognise that the process of buying and selling a property is costly. Every penny counts and you will want to save money wherever you can. There are ways to achieve this such as taking advantage of the government Help to Buy scheme, the Living ISA or the Help to Buy ISA. Check if you are eligible for Stamp Duty Land Tax first time buyer relief. If you are buying a new build, ask the developer if they can help with your deposit, part exchange your existing property or make a contribution towards your Stamp Duty Land Tax.

But there are also areas where perceived cost savings may not be what they seem. Reputation and specialism matter, especially when it comes to one of the biggest expenses we’ll ever have to budget for during our lifetimes.

We’re increasingly contracted by clients who have been hurt by so called ‘cheap conveyancing’ deals found online. Often these low-cost conveyancing fees contain hidden or add-on costs that aren’t clear at the outset. Or there just isn’t the legal expertise to deal with any complexities that can, and often do, arise. We have been instructed on many occasions to resolve situations that have been outside the scope and expertise of such companies.

If you are comparing conveyancing quotes, it is important to ask for a breakdown of what exactly is included in the price. For instance, when buying a property, ask your provider if there are additional charges if you are obtaining a mortgage. Or will there be additional costs to instigate and review searches? Alternatively if you are selling the property, does the price include redeeming your mortgage? Or distributing the sale proceeds on completion? Ensure you choose a reputable conveyancer that will provide you with all the fees upfront and can assure you that they are appropriately accredited and experienced to deal with any situation.

A conveyancing fee should be clear and transparent. It should include any disbursements the conveyancer pays on your behalf to a third party such as searches, electronic ID checks, the cost of transferring funds, the Land Registry fee, the Stamp Duty Land Tax liability and any other necessary investigations.

If you prefer to receive information online, a reputable conveyancer will be able to oblige - but you’ll always have the option to meet a real human too, at any time during the process. Above all, do your research and don’t be tempted to cut corners on your legal matters. As the old adage says, “if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is”.

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For professional legal advice to buy or sell your home, email or call Hitchin 01462 458711 or Welwyn Garden City 01707 887701.

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