If you’re moving home or buying property for the first time, you’ll likely have a million questions that need answering. One of which may well be, ‘Should I use the conveyancing solicitor my estate agent has recommended?’.
It’s a great question, and one that pretty much everyone who has bought or sold has asked in the past, so you’re not alone. Unfortunately, there’s no real cut-and-dried answer, as there are so many variables to consider.
What we’ll aim to do here, as with every other post on our property blog, is increase your knowledge so that you can make a more informed decision for yourself.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Do you have to use your estate agent’s conveyancer?
For the most part, the answer will be, no. However, contrary to what you may read elsewhere on the Web, this isn’t always the case.
The rise of the online estate agent over the last decade has seen a dramatic increase in tie-ins between these agents and cheap conveyancing portals. The two parties usually have a lot in common...namely the fact that, in both instances, you’ll be dealing with a faceless call centre operative as opposed to a true professional.
With this in mind, it’s vital to always read the small print before proceeding with an online ‘Pay Later’ deal, as they may stipulate that you have to use their choice of conveyancer, which is sketchy to say the least.
For those who choose to go down the more traditional route of working with a High Street estate agent, you are indeed free to decide which solicitor you want to handle the conveyancing process for you.
In some cases, however, you may be made to feel as though this isn’t the case.
Coming under pressure from estate agents over which conveyancing solicitor to use isn’t uncommon, which is a pity. Nobody should feel forced into making a decision that could potentially be detrimental to them, but we’d be lying if we said it doesn’t happen.
Reasons why your estate agent might recommend a solicitor
There are a number of reasons why an estate agent might recommend a particular conveyancing solicitor to clients, and they range from being helpful through to being greedy. As we’ll see in a bit, the odd thing is that even the greedy ones might actually be steering you in the right direction.
Here at Petty’s, we take the helpful route, recommending only those who we trust and know we can work closely with in order to get the job done. Other agents may operate differently, though, recommending the conveyancing solicitor who offers them the biggest kickback in terms of a referral fee instead!
Despite the fact the solicitor will pay the agent that referral fee, be under no illusion as to where that fee comes from...you. Yep, in the end, it’s the client who foots the bill, as conveyancers will recoup the cost of the fee from your pocket.
So, should a referral fee make you run for the hills?
Not necessarily, and this is where the water muddies a little.
Above we mentioned that greedy agents - those who base their recommendations solely on how much they’ll receive - could still end up recommending the right conveyancer, and here’s why: A wide range of conveyancing firms are willing to pay for referrals, which means good solicitors pay referral fees just as readily as the bad ones.
What matters more than anything is that the conveyancer you choose is the right one for you and your transaction. Yes, they may be more expensive in some cases, but if they can get the job done quickly and in a hassle-free way they will be well worth the extra you’ll pay.
Conveyancing matters, so do your homework
The key thing to remember is that this is your choice to make - don’t let your agent bully you into accepting their recommendation. You’re the one spending the money, so make sure you get the right people working for you.
If you’re sitting there thinking, ‘Well, that all sounds great...but how do I go about it?’, fear not. We’ve got everything covered in our other post, Conveyancing Solicitors: Top Tips To Find The Right Conveyancer. Go and check it out.
That’s it for this week’s post. If you enjoyed it and would like to be part of the gang, you can subscribe to our blog here. We’ll email you every week with our latest words of property wisdom, along with a few properties to peruse as well.
If you’re thinking of getting into the property market in or around East London and West Essex, whether you’re a buyer, seller, landlord, or tenant, Petty’s should be at the top of your reputable estate agents list. Give our friendly team a call today to find out why we’ve been Wanstead’s number one choice for over a hundred years.