What is Conveyancing?
‘Conveyancing’ is the legal and administrative process that facilitates the transfer of property and land ownership between individuals. A licensed conveyancer or a conveyancing solicitor usually carries out this process on your behalf when buying or selling a property.
Part of their job is to conduct local searches, pay the appropriate fees to external parties and sign and transfer contracts and documents amongst other things. You usually instruct a conveyancing professional once an offer has been agreed on a property.
What is Online Conveyancing and is it safe?
It is quite usual these days to use the internet to browse and purchase various services and products relative ease. It is therefore unsurprising that many conveyancing firms offer online conveyancing services throughout the UK, meaning they are able to operate nationwide from wherever they are situated.
Communications can be carried out by phone, email, business portals and other online tools. Some now offer a full online case management system which is particularly useful since the entire legal process can be overseen from the comfort of your home. You can also maintain communications if you go on holiday or work shifts. The term ‘online conveyancing’ does not mean that the process becomes completely digital as not much is done through online at all. It is more a reference to the method of communication.
Many people are concerned that online conveyancing isn’t safe and that their bank details will not be secure. A legitimate and fully accredited online conveyancer will be happy to explain the security measures they have in place that prevent fraudsters from accessing your private details.
The Pros and Cons of Online Conveyancing
To help you decide whether online conveyancing is for you, we have compiled a list of pros and cons:
First of all, here are some of the ‘Pros’ of online conveyancing:
- Progress tracking ability – With online conveyancing you can keep track of your case in real time, wherever you are in the world and whatever time it might be. You might even receive notifications when there are updates. Whether you work shifts or go on holiday, the progress of your case will be accessible, meaning you don’t have to keep calling a solicitors office during office to see where you’re up to.
- Low Prices – Online conveyancing is generally cheaper than traditional conveyancing. This is because online firms take on far more cases than High Street conveyancers which mean they can keep the fees relatively low.there will also be less disbursements and fewer documents than with traditional conveyancing.
- All-inclusive Quotes – When comparing online conveyancing, you will receive quotes which include all costs up front. Always make sure there are no extra fees hiding in there somewhere.
- Speed of Transaction – Communicating online is much quicker than via ‘snail mail’. Documents and be completed online and payments can be made instantly, speeding up the process considerably.
- Flexibility – Unlike high street conveyancers, online conveyancers often operate outside of the typical 9-5 working hours. This makes the service flexible, allowing you to raise queries at any time, rather than waiting until the next working day.
Here are some of the Cons to online conveyancing:
- No physical point of contact – Online conveyancing happens solely online or over the phone. There is no office for you to drop in to and no physical meetings with your conveyancer. For some people, this is fine, though others prefer a personal touch.
- Huge workload – Because online conveyancing is comparatively cheap, online firms take on a heavier workload. This can mean delays which could ultimately lead to parties pulling out. You might not have a regular point of contact since large volumes of work will keep your conveyancer tied up.
- Hidden Costs – Although price transparency measures have come into place to avoid this happening, you should still be extremely wary of hidden costs. Always get a full breakdown of fees. If they are confusing, unusually cheap or unclear in any way, then go elsewhere.
- Conveyancing factories – Some online conveyancing firms are actually large scale conveyancing factorise with hundreds of overworked individuals handling too many cases. Steer clear of these.
As with most services, online or not, some are fantastic, others not so much. Here are some things to look out for when considering online conveyancing:
- Lender Panel Accreditation – Always check that the firm you intend to use is a member of the ‘lenders panel’. If they are not, your mortgage company may refuse to work with them. Also check whether the company is accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme who set the minimum professional standards.
- Beware of Fraud – Make sure the conveyancer you instruct is in fact a real company. If you’re instructing a conveyancer, check they’re listed as a licensed conveyancer. If you’ve chosen a solicitor, check they’re on the Law Society website.