publication date: Jul 6, 2011
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
Choose your Legal or Conveyancing Company with Care
Property Conveyancing Solicitors
If you are buying and selling in the current market, rumour has it, having chatted to many estate agents that the legal or conveyancing company you choose could make the difference between your sale or purchase going ahead.
It appears legal (conveyancing) companies, many of whom have shed staff due to the 50% fall in property sales and purchases, are in some cases really ‘dragging' their feet. This isn't unusual, especially if you choose a very cheap conveyancing company or ‘shed' conveyancing through a corporate company. However in the current market, choosing a company which doesn't proactively progress your sale or purchase quickly, can mean you never get to exchange.
Commenting, 1st Property Lawyers said "When the market gets busy, the limitations of more traditional conveyancing firms become much more visible. Reluctance to use e-mail or even fax, delays in responding to phone calls and a failure to be proactive in resolving enquiries all create delays. At the moment we are seeing increases in last minute enquiries from lawyers on the other side of our transactions and a general slowing down in responding to issues. It's incredibly frustrating for our clients who can see all documents when they are sent and received instantly on their online case file so they can see just how long other side lawyers are taking to respond. Clients should be very demanding of their conveyancer to make sure that delays that might result in a deal falling through aren't caused by unecessary delays."
Kate Faulkner, Managing Director of the independent advice site Designs on Property says "Most buyers and sellers don't spend enough time choosing who their legal company is and that can spell disaster." Kate continues "Buying and selling a home from a legal perspective isn't necessarily complicated, but it does take a lot of chasing and some conveyancing companies just don't bother and wait until someone in the chain starts shouting."
Kate used work with a part exchange company buying and selling properties on a weekly basis. "Key problems we had were never with estate agents who most people complain about; we chose them carefully and most did a great job for us. The major issues for us and our buyers and sellers were always legal companies who didn't focus on customer service and didn't care about their clients' deadlines. Instead they only worryied about cases due to complete that week or near exchange as legal companies are liable to fines if they don't complete on the due date."
Kate and her team at Designs on Property suggest before you buy and sell a home to start looking around and securing quotes for legal costs. Kate says "There are some great on-line companies offering no sale, no fee and fixed fee conveyancing. They aren't all perfect but companies we work with such as 1st Property Lawyers, Easier2Move and Bridge Mcfarland.
"With over 30% of property purchases and sales falling through AFTER offer stage" Kate advises "it's vital to make sure you don't end up paying unnecessary legal bills on top of the hassle and upset of a deal going bad". So choose a ‘no sale, no fee and fixed fee' conveyancing company and make sure you agree ideal timescales for exchange as well as completion. Kate says whatever you do, don't believe the legal companies that say they can't commit to deadlines as they have to wait for information from third parties.
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