There are more negligence claims in conveyancing than in any other area of the law. Lesley Brentnall of Brady Solicitors takes a look at some of the reasons behind all these claims – and offers a useful check-list on what to consider when you choose your specialist conveyancing solicitor.
It is a well-known fact that you tend, in life, to get what you pay for. For many, buying a house will be the single most expensive investment they make. Whilst it is understandable to want to limit the costs associated with the process as much as possible, cutting corners on the conveyancing is more of a risk than many imagine.
Conveyancing results in more negligence claims than any other area of the law.
The law surrounding this area is more complex than many people appreciate; rules and regulations are constantly changing and, with the time constraints and pressure to reduce costs many non-qualified advisers are left unsupervised to undertake conveyancing work.
This can particularly be the case with the low-cost, “factory style” conveyancing process, where different case handlers deal with different stages. This can mean there is a greater risk of problems being missed or overlooked and you may also struggle to speak to the person responsible for progressing your property sale or purchase.
A good quality conveyancing expert need not cost the earth, but it is unlikely to be the very cheapest quote that you receive.
So, bargain basement pricing aside, what should you look for when choosing a conveyancing solicitor?
Personal recommendation is always a good starting point. Many of our clients are either people we have acted for before, returning because they feel confident we will take good care of them throughout the process, or clients who have been recommended to us. Other considerations are:
Are they experienced?
At Brady Solicitors our conveyancing team has over 40 years’ combined conveyancing experience and so we are well placed to deal with your transaction irrespective of how complex the issues may be
Are they upfront with their fees?
We do not hold ourselves out as being the cheapest firm but we do feel we offer excellent value for money. We do not believe in hidden costs or disguising our fees to make it seem you are paying less than you are. We do not charge you for checking your ID, for completing the Stamp Duty Land Tax return, or for telephone calls or postage. We do not invoice you for “general” disbursements (another sneaky add on!) and we do not add additional fees to any bank charges we incur when we need to transfer monies for you on completion.
Many firms do some or all of these things which means you could end up spending more than you anticipate – read the small print carefully!
Are you always able to speak to the person directly dealing with your case?
This can often be more difficult than you would expect with some firms. If the person dealing with your case is unavailable for any reason then another member of the team with knowledge of your matter should be able to deal with any queries. Ask potential solicitors about their service standards for returning calls and responding to emails. We appreciate that this is not rocket science but you would be surprised how many people complain about this when they have used low-cost firms.
What is their track record in progressing sales and purchases to completion?
At Brady Solicitors we always do everything we can to meet clients’ timescales, including working out of office hours when necessary. On average we exchange in around four weeks –the national average is 12 weeks. We also have a less than 5% abortive transaction rate (the national average is twice this).
What is their experience of more complex/unusual conveyancing matters?
Some firms will not handle property sales that are unduly complex as they do not have the experienced staff to deal with them. You don’t want your transaction to stall part-way through because your chosen firm is no longer able to progress your transaction as it is outside of their expertise. At Brady Solicitors we are extremely experienced in all conveyancing matters, including leasehold and complex residential transactions, so you can be sure your matter is in safe hands.
By choosing a proactive, efficient and experienced conveyancing solicitor you can be confident that they will do everything possible to drive your transaction forward – and ensure that you are not adding to the negligence claims statistics!
For expert conveyancing support on the purchase or sale of your residential property, contact Brady Solicitors on 0115 985 3450 or click here to send us an email. Lesley Brentnall and her experienced team will be pleased to help.