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Online Conveyancing

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
16 replies 3.8K views
Sophie94xSophie94x Forumite
19 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
I am a FTB buying a shared ownership flat (Full property price £120,000 - 40% share = £48,000 - mortgage of £45,600) and have been searching round and contacting local solicitors all day. Roughly, the cheapest local solicitor I found was just over £1100 however have been looking at online conveyancers and got a quote for £800.

Have you bought a property using an online conveyancer before? The specific one was

Any experience you've had or even any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :j


  • The anecdotal evidence on here seems to be very mixed.

    Personally for the sake of £300 i'd far rather use a local firm recommended to me. At least if you hit a problem you can go in and see them.
  • G_MG_M PPR Forumite
    52K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    There are two aspects to consider

    1) is it really a like-for-like quote? Many (cheap) online quotes exclude things, which are hidden in the small print and added on later as extras (despite being unavoidable). So compare the quotes carefully

    2) with an online firm you lose the personal touch, and the ability to pop in and talk face to face. Where a conveyance proceeds smoothly, and you fully understand what is going on, that is fine. But where an issue rises, or something you don't understand, you should not under-estimate the advantage of being able to go and see your conveyancer.
    ** If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link! **
  • skippieskippie Forumite
    79 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    We've used online conveyancing multiple times. Two through a mortgage broker and once through a comparison website.

    Look through the quote and check the feedback on the firm. I've always been advised never to use a firm below 92%.

    In my experience the service has always been efficient, if you are happy conducting your business via email, telephone and receiving post from them then it's grand.

    When issues have arisen they have been resolved pretty quickly. People always say use a local firm, but how are you selecting the local firm?
    MFW #144 £0/£5000 2019
  • KynthiaKynthia Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Do the conveyancers have any experience of shared ownership properties? They are difficult enough without throwing onion conveyancers into the mix.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Kynthia wrote: »
    Do the conveyancers have any experience of shared ownership properties? They are difficult enough without throwing onion conveyancers into the mix.

    Totally agree. I certainly wouldn't trust my onions with someone I'd not met, face to face! ;)
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  • edited 8 December 2015 at 11:03AM
    AlistairMAlistairM Forumite
    97 posts
    edited 8 December 2015 at 11:03AM
    I've been using Shoosmiths online.

    They've been really good so far.

    They give you a username and password that lets you login and track progress online too.

    My move has been held up by 2 months because of planning permission further up the chain.

    Despite telling my conveyers this they still keep chasing them.

    I've been pretty impressed with them.
    We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.
  • AlexMacAlexMac Forumite
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    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    It's good to have a dissenter (Alister's positive view, above) but I'm with the others who caution that a local solicitor might do better.

    I usually choose one on the basis of past success or (for example when my old conveyancer retired) a quick ring round to select on the basis of common-sense and communication skills; whether I can actually speak intelligibly to the conveyancer on the phone, that they confirm their quote quickly by email, are prepared to use email not snail mail...

    The only negative experience I can report was our kids' seller's one- their bucket shop at the other end of the country proved so incapapable of dealing with a few leasehold issues that the sale dragged on for months and the seller had to sack the conveyancer and start again; forcing our kids to sell and move into a rented place in the new area ( to save their own sale as they'd got a great price and to catch the new school term).

    But hey- £300 is one quarter of one percent of your total purchase so not to be sniffed at!
  • Agree that a local solicitor isn't always the best option, and online conveyancing isn't always the worst option. But it will depend on the complexity of transaction, the actual solicitor appointed etc.

    I had a "free" online conveyancing as part of my mortgage offer, and they have been nothing but brilliant. Kept me up to date, replied quickly, sent chasers where needed. Really can't fault them at all.

    My sellers solicitor is a local solicitor who has dragged their heels for what should be the simplest transaction possible (no chain, nothing complex, nothing disastrous unearthed).

    But it does vary widely. I certainly wouldn't say from experience a local solicitor is better. But that's only my experience.
  • edited 8 December 2015 at 3:41PM
    Oswald_FunkletrumpetOswald_Funkletrumpet Forumite
    12 posts
    edited 8 December 2015 at 3:41PM
    I sold a property 2 years ago and the buyer used Premier Property Lawyers (as advised by the estate agent) and they were for the most part rubbish. My solicitor couldn't speak to anyone and they were raising ridiculous enquiries that my solicitor had never heard before.

    Can't a family member or a friend recommend anyone?
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
    8K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    As G_M says, it is crucial to double-check that you are getting a like for like quote. Shared ownership is more complex than a 'normal' purchase of the whole - check that the specific individual who would be dealing with your case is familair with Shared Ownership transactions. (that goes for any local solicitor you get a quote from, too!)

    Go through the quiote line by line and ask about any additiona lcharges related to it being shared ownership. I am sure that there are online conveyancers who don't go for a low headline quote then add essentials in the small print, but a lot of them do.

    One of the reasons that this type of organisation is cheap is that hey usually employ large numbers of unqualified caseworkers who have automated case management softward and lots of boxes to tick. Which works pretty well for a strightforward trasaction, but does mean that they often don;t have the experience or knowledge to deal with anything out of the ordinary or with any problems which may arise.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
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