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How much does a property lawyer pay for getting my conveyancing business?

When an estate agent or other service recommends a conveyancing solicitor, it's likely they'll be getting referral fee.

How much does a property lawyer pay for getting my conveyancing business?

Referral Fees 

When your estate agent or another business recommends a conveyancing solicitor or a licensed conveyancer, the property lawyer pays them a referral fee. Whilst referrals are a standard part of the property industry, it's worth knowing how much those fees are, and where that extra money comes from. Often, these recommended services are much more expensive in order to cover the fee.
 

You may be surprised to learn that some referral fees are in the £100s, which is why fees for conveyancing can vary so widely. However, rulings have changed for both estate agents and conveyancing when it comes to transparency about pricing.

Every website should detail how much they receive for passing business to the conveyancer. We publish ours on our terms and conditions page. You can also ask estate agents or other companies who recommend a solicitor what their referral fee is.

Transparency for estate agent referral fees

Changes are approaching when it comes to referral fee transparency - National Trading Standards have suggested that referral fees should be disclosed. It is absolutely your choice if you'd prefer to go with a recommended solicitor, but you should know how much the estate agent is being paid for that recommendation.

You should also not be pushed into using their recommended services, either under the promise of an easier or quicker process, or as in some cases, by developers requiring you to use their suggested solicitors. Legally, you must always have complete choice over your legal representative. 
 

Transparency for solicitors and licensed conveyancers

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has also been focused on transparency, with the suggestion that legal professionals should be transparent about their prices online. Whether this is an approximate figure, or done through bandings of different prices for different types of work, the move towards clarity around pricing is definitely in the customer's interest.

Solicitors Regulation Authority

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has a strict referral code. The full details can be seen here. Solicitors are required to set out a full quotation which details their fees, the disbursement costs and associated expenses with your transaction. They are also required to reveal how much they paid for your referral.

Council for Licensed Conveyancers

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has a ‘Guidance Note 6’ which states the Conveyancer must “disclose to a Client in writing, as soon as they are known to the Licensed Conveyancer, the existence and amount of any sum payable by or to the Licensed Conveyancer arising, whether directly or indirectly, from the Client’s instructions.”  We suggest you ask the Licensed Conveyancer for details of the referral fee they have paid for your (potential) custom.

In addition to checking the amount of money you, the client, are paying for your referred business, we strongly recommend that you get at least three quotes for your conveyancing. Fees for leasehold and freeholds within different valuation brackets can vary widely.

 


Compare quotes from conveyancing solicitors in your area 

 

Do you trust referral fees?

There is nothing inherently bad about referral fees, it's just whether it comes down to you as a customer paying more because of them. It's easy to believe that an estate agent is simply recommending their preferred solicitor, because they know them and like working with them, or because it's easier, but if money has changed hands for that referral then you have a right to know about it.

Always ask if the person making the recommendation will be paid a referral fee, and what it is. Always be sure to compare prices on different services, and check company reviews, so you can make sure you're getting the best deal.
 

Comments (4)

  • sally

    posted on 2 Feb 2016

    this is very misleading - solicitors are not allowed to add any referral fee paid onto the client's bill - it must be subtracted from the sum received therefore, it is a genuine cost to the solicitor and not to the client. in words of one sentence, your bill for legal service would be the same whether or not there is a referral fee paid by the solicitor to any introducer.

    Reallymoving response

    Thank you for your comment.

    Solicitor firms pay referral fees to their introducers. The referral fee is then incorporated into the legal fee that the client pays. This does not mean that the referral fee will be listed on your bill as a separate item being charged to you; but it does mean that your legal fee will be much higher if you are referred by an estate agent than it would have been if you went direct to the firm. It is not our intention to mislead and we apologise that you feel this way and I hope this now clarifies what the above article means.

    Farah Sikotra

    posted on 13 Feb 2018

    I'm with Sally on this one, this is misleading. I do not agree with the response you have posted either, if a client came to me directly, my fees would be the same and if they were referred to me, they would be exactly the same. This article is misleading and makes it appear that they are being taken advantage of, if referred to a Lawyer/Solicitor in comparison with if they make their own enquiries with Law Firms. In addition to the above, I think the benefits a client receives from having an agent and lawyer work together who are used to working together is priceless, especially in cases where time is of the essence - which it is 99% of the time!

    Roger Broadhurst

    posted on 6 Apr 2019

    My daughter went to look at an appointment on sale through Reeds Rains (Wilmslow). RR's story from the offset was that the vendor wanted a buyer who will be using a RR recommended solicitor. My daughter's bid was accepted and my daughter (who had been non comital during the bidding process) appointed her own solicitor. Reeds Rains were agree and threatening and said they'd contact the vendor to say she was an 'unreliable purchaser' and she'd lose the apartment unless she cancelled her solicitor and used there's. Afraid of losing the apartment she did as she was told. The RR solicitor's quote (which RR had asked the solicitor to send my daughter) listed a referral fee (to RR) of £582. My daughter phoned the solicitor to ask for a quote with all the identical details, but without mentioning RR, and they gave her a quote which was £600 cheaper. Therefore; certainly in this case, the solicitor WAS adding on the £582 referral fee to their price to forward to RR. At no time did Reeds Rains declare a Conflict of Interest or say that they'd benefit financially. Needless to say, when we did get to speak with the vendor, after completion, they said that they definitely hadn't voiced any solicitor preference for my daughter believing it to be HER decision. When my daughter complained to RR Customer Services they didn't deny anything but defended their Wilmslow Office saying that it was all part of their Duty of Care to the Vendor and they had acted correctly. My daughter took it to the Property Ombudsman and they 'slated' RR calling their Wilmslow Office 'manipulating', 'intimidating', ‘threatening’ and 'aggressive'. They described RR Customer Services as 'blunt', 'rude', 'accusatory', and their comments 'inappropriate'. My daughter was awarded £982 (referral rebate and monies for distress). I accept that not ALL Estate Agents are dishonest, however, some certainly are. Referral fees allow Estate Agents to make hundreds of pounds for telling a few lies. What is particularly frustrating, is that these companies will target the most vulnerable (as with all Scams) and in many cases they will take £100s and their victims will never know that they have been told lies... those who realise they have been duped won't necessarily detail the evidence and get the support of the vendors. I feel that 'Referrals' should be outlawed, and Estate Agents should issue an invoice to their customers for each and all their chargeable services. I suspect they wouldn't try charging £582 for just pointing a customer towards a given solicitor.

    Louise Pugh

    posted on 17 May 2019

    Well the above is certainly a sad and hopefully uncommon account of the referral fee world. I agree with both Sally and Farah above - when a client is referred to me, the referral fee comes out of my legal fee (not billed on top). For example - I would quote a client £400 if they came direct. If client was referred they would still pay £400 but I would pass say £150 of the £400 to the referrer. As such, the only person who losses out financially is the lawyer - put that is a trade off for the work being referred in the first place. Farah's point about the benefits of having an agent/solicitor combo are not to be undervalued - the client pays no extra but gets the benefit of two points of contact and two people fighting their corner. Referrals, when dealt with according to regulation, are effective and generally beneficial to all parties involved. Roger I am glad your daughter was reimbursed and RR made to pay for their conduct.

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