For a problem and stress free move, it is important that your conveyancing solicitors and estate agents work really well with one another.
However some of the large chain estate agents are under significant internal pressure to push conveyancing to their choice of solicitor rather than yours.
Why? Either they have some sort of financial interest in the conveyancing, or they have a deal for cheap conveyancing with a conveyancing factory, in which case the estate agent may take some form of commission for passing on the work or, alternatively. We have often heard from our clients that they have been pestered and harassed by their estate agent using, high pressure tactics to get them to sign up to their choice of conveyancer rather than the client’s own preferred solicitor. I have personally had to make a number of complaints to at least one firm of chain estate agents on this very point.
Do you want your legal work done in a conveyancing factory?
This option invariably results in referral of your legal work to a Conveyancing “factory” or “call centre” operation.
The Estate Agent should always disclose to you if they will receive a referral fee for arranging for their choice of solicitor to act for you – we suspect, however, that this disclosure often doesn’t take place. In contrast, independent Estate Agents, often recommend local Conveyancing Solicitors on the basis of their ability alone, and, certainly locally, rarely benefit from any form of referral fee. These Estate Agents will usually be owner managed small firms who have worked closely with local efficient and competent Conveyancing solicitors over the years -they are usually more than happy to recommend local solicitors, who they trust, without the need for any payment.
My estate agent tells me to use their in-house solicitor – but I want someone local – can I choose my own solicitor?
Remember – it’s your money that is going to be used to pay the conveyancing legal fees and it is your house that you’re buying or selling. Don’t feel you need to automatically follow the estate agents recommendation – especially if they’re recommending some form of “factory” miles away from you using a team of unqualified paralegals who you will never meet – ask them if they are getting any financial benefit for the referral. If they are, treat their recommendation with extreme caution -as it’s hardly independent. Instead you might want to choose your own solicitor, backed by taking recommendations from friends and family and work colleagues or searching the web for the right legal firm for you. You should decide who you would like to do your Conveyancing and then tell your Estate Agent whom you are using, not the other way round.
In particular, if on calling the Conveyancing firm recommended to you by the estate agent, you are told that your call is important to them but your call will be held in a queue until the next available case handler is available, run a mile – and inform your Estate Agent you will be using a different firm.
Our advice – appoint a local property lawyer who specialises in conveyancing.
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