Buying a home is an expensive and stressful process, ranking with divorce and death amongst the most stressful situations people will face in their lives. It is therefore important to get it right.
Changes in the law
In December 2018, it was made obligatory for law firms to publish their fees, including a detailed breakdown in key areas such as residential conveyancing. Prior to this, many buyers said that even if costs were outlined beforehand, there would often be unexpected extras.
The advantages of transparency
Not only does transparency bring peace of mind but also it means that law firms are forced into being more competitive, which is always a positive for customers. Buying a home involves lots of procedures, paperwork and professionals.
What to look for in a conveyancer
You should certainly not just pick the cheapest firm out there. By looking online at the various options, you will be able to assess to some degree the qualifications and experience of the providers and will see that there is often a choice between paying an hourly rate or a fixed fee. If you choose the latter and it seems very reasonable, be aware that your case will probably not be rushed through. You may also want to choose a firm that has experience of working with properties like the ones you are purchasing. Park Homes for example tend to be leasehold properties and so it is important that you work with a conveyancer who has experience of these.
Personal recommendation is always a good starting point; for example, if you have local friends who have recently used online conveyancing services, ask them who they would recommend. It is also worth joining some local social media groups to find out what other people are talking about in terms of local services. Most law practices with a website will have the facility for clients to add reviews.
Remember that many legal firms will offer a no sale, no fee guarantee, which is a big bonus in times of uncertainty and the high probability of house sales not coming to fruition. Other fees payable when making a house purchase include search fees, land registry fees and stamp duty. When you look at the schedule of fees, ensure that you are clear whether VAT has been included.
If a firm does not publish its fees on the website, the new law means that it will have to provide you with a breakdown of its projected fees on request.