There’s isn’t much these days that can’t be done online, whether it’s buying groceries, arranging insurance, taxing your car, booking a holiday or looking for a house. So why not use an online conveyancer rather than a qualified solicitor?
A quick Google search throws up any number of options for buying and selling property without ever actually speaking to a human being and, on the surface of it, some of these options look to be cheaper than the traditional alternative, but is an online conveyancer right for you?
In the vast majority of cases an online conveyancer will not be a qualified solicitor. They will be one of many people working in a call centre who are trained to deal with limited aspects of very straightforward transactions.
Your matter could be handled by several different people, which means you have no single point of contact to talk to if you have questions or concerns.
We regularly hear reports of this impersonal style of service leading to clients feeling that their property transaction is not prioritised and that they are treated like a number, rather than an individual, during the largest and most important purchase or sale of their lives.
Also beware of quotes that look too cheap to be true. Usually this is an indication that extras will be added on, sometimes significantly inflating the final cost but you may not become aware of the final cost until it is too late.
Contrast that with a reputable local solicitor who knows the area that your property is located in and who is accessible by email or phone and able to keep you updated about progress every step of the way. A reputable solicitor will use IT to enhance your experience and expedite your transaction but not as a replacement for the personal service and guidance you need.
Delays and blockages can jeopardise a chain and significantly increase your stress levels, so it is important that you have confidence that you solicitor is responsive and will keep pushing things forward on your behalf, keeping you abreast of developments along the way.
Local knowledge can be crucial, especially if searches unearth unexpected problems that require a qualified legal expert to resolve. In these circumstances, you not only need the highest level of expertise but also someone who is committed to delivering a five-star service to you.
Finally, choosing a solicitor who is registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and has Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation provides peace of mind about the integrity and standards that your conveyancer is committed to.
At the end of the day, buying and selling property isn’t always straightforward. There can be unexpected twists and turns and when those things happen, you need an outstanding legal adviser in your corner.
Whether you choose an online conveyancer or a qualified solicitor, my advice would always be to check the Google reviews and to listen to personal recommendations from friends and family.