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Choosing Your Own Conveyancer

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 14 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Buying a house is the single most important decision you will have to make, however your choice of conveyancer comes in a very close second.

Incidentally, there is no law that says you must have a Conveyancer do the work for you, you could do a DIY conveyance.

A Necessary Evil

Believe it or not, Conveyancers do not put obstacles in the way of your move or deliberately delay matters. But, to ensure that their attention is focused, its recommended that you negotiate, or pick a firm that has, a no-sale-no-fee policy (check the small-print for any right to charge for abortive work). This means that if, through no fault of your own, you don’t move at all, you don’t pay for any of the work done.


When you are choosing your Conveyancer ask friends or family who they used, and what they thought of the service. A personal recommendation from someone who knows and cares about you goes a long way but, if money is tight, then shop around. But and this is a big but; no-one can require you to use a certain conveyancer when you move, not the Estate Agent, not the Motgage Advisor, no-one.

What To Look For

So, now you know that you have complete freedom of choice; phone around a few firms and rely on your first instinct, if the person who will act for you gets on your nerves, you are not going to have a good relationship!

In the spirit of simplifying your decision consider the following each time you phone a new firm;

  • How many options did you have to press to get through? How long did you hold before someone spoke to you? Could this be a sign of spending a lot of time listening to ‘Relaxing hold music‘, or days waiting for calls to be returned? All of these really irritating for some people and, if this is you, then spending the next few weeks doing it is not a good plan.
  • Ask who you will be dealing with; is it a team or a single person. Many firms operate Volume Conveyancing, which means low fees but, sadly, sometimes a below par service. This is not always the case and many firms running the Pyramid System give an excellent service. Similarly many firms that allocate clients to a single person have appalling customer service records. This can’t be planned for and has to be a matter of personal choice.
  • When you asked them about the fees, and whether that was the total cost, did they get vague and change the subject? One thing that cannot be stressed enough is to read the small-print; check for hidden extras. The ‘quote’ is not always what you end up paying.
  • Did they promise you would definitely move by a certain date or within a set time?
  • What systems do they have in place to enable you to have as much information as possible at any given time? In the digital age most firms have internet access systems or text messaging. If this is something that you like then go for it.

Simple questions but very good at enabling you to gauge how you feel about the firm. If the answers to all those questions are positive, good for you, you may have found someone you can work with to a satisfactory conclusion. Except 4. If the person on the other end of the phone makes promises without the information at hand, this is a bad sign.

An Analogy For You

Imagine you are a chef, you are asked to prepare a three course meal in one hour. Simple for someone with experience, but; what if you didn’t know the menu, or what ingredients you have, whether any of the diners had food allergies etc. Now you can’t make that promise, all you can promise to do is try.

Of course there is no guarantee that a firm that performs well in the beginning will not cause you problems later. Fear not, there are ways to reduce stress and in really bad circumstances you can always disinstruct.

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