Online Conveyancing: How it works

Buying a new home is an expensive business. So, is it possible to cut costs on things like conveyancing? Reliable conveyancing is a necessity but online services could save you money. When done correctly, online conveyancing can offer speed, convenience and (often) lower prices. We answer all the most frequently-asked questions about online conveyancing and discover what it offers compared with using a high street solicitor.

What is conveyancing of a property?

Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring property from one owner to another. This covers all the legal and administrative steps involved, including:

Enquires and property checks, such as planning permissions and certification of worksApplying for (and securing) a mortgageSigning and exchanging contractsCompletion of the sale

What is the role of a conveyancer?

The conveyancer’s role is to guide their client through the legal process. As well as preparing, completing and filing all of the necessary paperwork, they should advise you of any further actions you need to complete. This could involve providing supporting documents or clarifying anything that comes up in the searches stage.

Why is conveyancing important?

Conveyancing is important as it is a legally required process in all UK property sales. It’s also there to protect both parties.

Thanks to conveyancing, buyer and seller can both avoid any unwelcome surprises regarding the property or the financing of the sale. A reliable conveyancer should ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, steering you through any issues that do occur.

Can conveyancing be done online?

Yes, conveyancing can be done online. There are plenty of conveyancing companies across the UK that offer purely online services. This is perfectly legal and technically no different from a traditional conveyancing company.

Is online conveyancing safe?

Online conveyancing companies must follow all the legal rules applying to traditional conveyancers – making them just as safe, in theory. However, there may be online conveyancers who don’t have the experience or well-established reputation of conveyancing solicitors with physical premises.

Whoever you use, it’s essential you investigate the reputation of the company before agreeing to have them represent you. If they are backed up by solid customer reviews, online conveyancers should be no less safe than any other firm.

Should I use online conveyancing rather than a solicitor?

A conveyancer is a type of solicitor – just one who specialises in conveyancing. Check out our guide to different types of lawyer for more information on the definitions.

Are online conveyancers cheaper?

Online conveyancing companies may be cheaper, but they are not automatically going to give you a better deal. Due to increasing online competition, many firms offer excellent initial rates but may add on lots of extra charges later. Like any contract, make sure you understand the full extent of the fees involved before signing.

That said, online conveyancers can often afford to offer their clients cheaper rates than those with traditional office setups. This is because they have lower business costs and fewer general overheads.

Can I do my own conveyancing?

You can carry out your own conveyancing, but it is usually a long and highly technical process. This means that unless you have some experience, it may end up costing you money rather than letting you save it, especially if you make a mistake. The Home Owners’ Alliance has some useful initial guidelines on DIY conveyancing if you want to want to try it.

Does it matter where your conveyancer is based?

For online conveyancing, it does not really matter where the company is based. While local knowledge is always useful, the process of conveyancing is done by major firms for clients all over the country. You will likely need to post or scan and email any relevant documents to your chosen conveyancers anyway, so location is relatively unimportant.

Can you negotiate conveyancing fees?

While many firms operate on a fixed-fee basis, plenty are open to negotiating conveyancing fees. If you do a little research and find cheaper rates than a given company is offering, this can be a useful bargaining tool.

You can also help keep their costs down if you help make their job easier. If you have all the valid documents relating to the purchase of your home, they won’t need to organise replacements. Having things like the title deed and EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) handy will help you agree on a lower rate.

Is online conveyancing worth it?

If you can find a reputable online conveyancer with clear-cut fees, then this approach can definitely be worth it. With lower overheads compared to high street solicitors, online conveyancers should be able to pass on the savings to you. However, always make sure that you do your research and satisfy yourself that the company can deliver good service.

If you’re in the process of buying a house and are unsure of all the legal jargon being thrown around, our guide to house offers and contracts could help.

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