Buying a property can be a daunting and complex process, particularly for first-time buyers, and a new survey has revealed that many homebuyers think the conveyancing process has room for improvement.
Conveyancing is usually carried out by a solicitor or conveyancer, and involves legally transferring homeownership from the vendor to the buyer. The process begins when an offer is first accepted on a property – this is the stage at which the buyer instructs a conveyancer or solicitor to act on their behalf – and continues right through to completion when you are handed the keys to the property.
Most estate agents will recommend a local solicitor to use, but buyers can also shop around for the best rates and services and can even opt for an online conveyancer.
What does a conveyancer do?
On a basic level, the conveyancer or solicitor will:
- Conduct searches with organisations such as local authorities/utility companies to flag up any issues
- Check contracts drawn up by the seller’s solicitor and raise any enquiries
- Advise you of any incurred costs, such as stamp duty
- Liaise with your mortgage lender
- Pay the fees related to the sale on your behalf (after you have transferred the money)
- Exchange contracts with the seller’s solicitor
- Register you as the homeowner with the Land Registry
A homebuyer’s view on conveyancing
In a recent survey carried out by conveyancing software company InfoTrack, it was revealed that almost half of homebuyers found the process of choosing a conveyancer or solicitor difficult because they all seemed to offer the same service.
Communication was listed as an important issue, with 55% of buyers saying that conveyancers could improve their communication during transactions and should offer greater clarity about their actual role in the process. When asked what conveyancing was most useful for, 28% said during the land registration process, 26% said for drawing up contracts, and 23% said for conducting important local searches.
Many felt that removing the legal jargon would be helpful when dealing with solicitors and conveyancers (37%), while 27% believed the process could be improved by using online communication methods as opposed to phone calls and letters.
Adam Bullion, general marketing manager at InfoTrack, commented: “Consumers feel that conveyancers take care of the most laborious admin tasks, and ensure their money is being moved around safely and efficiently. However, conveyancers should understand that consumers also want consultancy throughout each stage of the process. Consultancy can act as a real value add within the transaction which means better communication.
“Changing communication methods to engage with their customers on their preferred methods will have multiple benefits, from time saving for the conveyancer, to increased client satisfaction.”