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Are Online Conveyancing Fees Always Cheaper?

The rise in online conveyancing has revolutionised the conveyancing sector, taking it out of what used to be dusty solicitors’ offices and putting conveyancing fees in the hands of the client.

As more conveyancing firms battle for your custom, conveyancing fees seem to be spiralling downwards to unbelievable sums like £99 conveyancing or £199 conveyancing fees.

It is unlikely that online conveyancing for £99 or even £199 is going to fulfil everything required of the conveyancing process. However, online conveyancing tends to be cheaper than using a high street firm of conveyancers or conveyancng solicitors because all the various stages of conveyancing are handled electronically, meaning that the traditional face-to-face meetings and phone calls are no longer needed.

The conveyancing process operates via an online account which the homebuyer has with its conveyancer, enabling the progress of conveyancing to be checked by the client 24/7.

This also means that less correspondence is needed as everything is done digitally.

Records like title deeds are now also stored electronically, making obtaining deeds and information about relevant planning applications much quicker.

The only time when title deeds might have to be in the form of a hard copy would be with historical or listed buildings, because in these cases deeds are not usually available as electronic files.

Although generally online conveyancing has the potential to be much cheaper, there are some situations which might mean more costly conveyancing fees.

Leases usually attract an extra fee called a Leasehold property surcharge to cover the time reading and dealing with enquiries about a lease. If this stage of the process requires more time or an enquiry turns out to be contentious, then it might mean higher conveyancing fees to sort out the problem.

Problems with surveys or property chains causing delays can also mean higher conveyancing fees, as these are situations which will impact on the conveyancing process.

Many homebuyers also fear hidden costs in conveyancing fees and the sort of charges which conveyancers might add to online conveyancing fees include photocopying or public liability insurance.

Always check before agreeing to accept a conveyancing quote if there are any hidden fees in the small print of a quote or the initial contract of engagement sent by a conveyancer.

If you need to contact your conveyancer by phone because of an issue, the time and cost of phone calls might also be added to the final bill.

Check beforehand how any extra costs will be charged – whether hourly pro rata (usually every quarter of an hour is charged, but some professionals like solicitors will charge by even a proportion of a minute for their time); or whether a set fee agreement would be possible for extra conveyancing work, including sorting out a problem with a planning application which might affect a property.

Generally, however, online conveyancing is cheaper – and many high street conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors will offer an online conveyancing service to homebuyers via their website, so check with your local conveyancing firm whether this service is possible to help save on conveyancing fees.

The Law Society has launched a Conveyancing Quality Scheme, so look for the CQS logo in the windows of conveyancing firms or on websites offering online conveyancing fees.

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