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    What is Online Conveyancing and How Does it Work?

    By The reallymoving Team Updated 24th May, 2024

    Reviewed by Em Smith

    If it is your first-time buying property, “conveyancing” is one of those jargon words that may not immediately make sense. Conveyancing is the legal service of transferring a property from one owner to another. We will walk you through the details so you can feel more secure during your move so you can have peace of mind.

    What is Online Conveyancing and How Does it Work?

    What does a conveyancer do?

    The Council for Licensed Conveyancers is regulated by the council for conveyancers across England and Wales.

    The conveyancer will arrange for the exchange of contracts. This will make the transfer of ownership of the property legally binding. The conveyancer will also deal with registering the transfer of title with the Land Registry.

    However, these important actions form only part of the conveyancer’s role in your residential property purchase. Your conveyancer will manage the process from start to finish and applying for a mortgage is only a fraction of the process. Your conveyancer deals with the transfer of money (deposit and mortgage advance) to secure the purchase.

    As your legal representative, the conveyancer will review binding documents such as the mortgage lender's offer. They will then lend you legal advice.

    They will also carry out a variety of “searches” on your behalf. Essentially, these involve making a number of enquiries to the local authority and other bodies. The conveyancer will obtain information about the property that may have an impact upon you as the new homeowner.

    Typical searches include details of boundaries and disputes, rights of way and any planning constraints on the property. Depending on the nature of the property and the location, your conveyancer may also recommend other non-routine searches. These could include environmental searches which might reveal subsidence or flooding risks.

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    Searching for a conveyancer online

    It is not unusual for the estate agent to recommend or refer you to a conveyancer. But you should be aware that the estate agent is likely receiving a referral fee for passing on the business. Often, you will be able to save money by shopping around before making a final decision.

    An Internet search for conveyancing services is often a good starting point. These days, most property lawyers will have an online presence.

    Be sure to scrutinise quotes from online conveyancers carefully before signing up. It's not unusual for firms to attract customers with a cheaper headline rate, such as “£99 conveyancing”.

    This is a misleading base rate and will not include the other fees and “disbursements” that form a part of the conveyancing process. Disbursements are third-party charges that the conveyancer will collect from you and pay on your behalf. For example, land registry charges and fees for searches.

    What is online conveyancing?

    Online conveyancing is when the conveyancing process and legal tasks are handled purely over the phone or online. Online conveyancers often still operate a traditional business model, but many now offer a fully online case management system. This has the advantage of considerable transparency compared to more traditional conveyancing practices.

    Typically, you will be able to log into the conveyancer’s online system and view the case progress at any time. You'll have the opportunity to see which searches have been requested or received. As well as this, you can track the status of the mortgage application. Some online conveyancers also send automated text alerts when milestones in the conveyancing process are reached.

    The pros and cons of online conveyancing

    There are benefits to choosing online conveyancing, but there are also some disadvantages that you should consider.

    Pros of online conveyancing Cons of online conveyancing
    It can be cheaper as there are fewer overhead costs. Some online conveyancers’ quotes can be potentially misleading and do not include additional fees and disbursements.
    It can speed up the conveyancing process. There may be multiple people working on your file. This means that you may have to deal with multiple people should you need to contact the firm.
    Transparency and the ability to check the progress through the online case management system. Due to online conveyancers usually taking on multiple cases at once to offset the lower fees you may encounter delays when dealing with your conveyancer.
    You are not as restricted with location. There can feel like a lack of personal touch as there is no face-to-face meetings.

    What to expect from online conveyancing quotes 

    Online conveyancing quotes are often cheaper, this is due to reduced overheads. However, it is important to make sure that when choosing a conveyancer, you are aware of any additional costs and disbursements that may not be disclosed.

    There are different types of online conveyancing fees for you to consider such as fixed-fee or no sale, no fee conveyancing.

    What is fixed-fee conveyancing?

    Fixed-fee conveyancing is when you pay a pre-agreed price for the conveyancing services.

    The price that you agree at the beginning should be the price that you pay at the end. This can provide security and a clear understanding of the fees you will be paying which will help you with budgeting.

    However, it is important to check what each quote covers to avoid any hidden extra costs that you are not expecting.

    What is no sale, no fee conveyancing?

    No sale, no fee conveyancing means that the conveyancing solicitor agrees to only charge for their services if the property sale is completed.

    This offers financial protection that if your sale falls through you will not have to pay.

    No sale, no fee conveyancing can be more expensive than traditional conveyancing quotes to compensate for the risk the firm takes if the sale is to fall through.

    It is important to check with your conveyancing solicitor what fees are covered and if there are additional costs you may still have to pay even if the sale does not complete.

    How to find the best online conveyancer 

    Check the customer reviews

    Whichever type of conveyancer you eventually choose to use, it is important to compare service reviews alongside comparing prices. Look out for online reviews that will give you an insight into either great customer service or any issues people have previously encountered.

    Get the best price

    Doing your research can ensure you get the best price. You can also use our online comparison tool to save money by comparing instant quotes from four property solicitors, conveyancing solicitors, or licensed conveyancers.

    Online conveyancing FAQs

    Are online conveyancers cheaper?

    Online conveyancers are often cheaper than traditional face-to-face services due to lower overheads. However, it is crucial to ensure that quoted fees have no unexpected hidden costs.

    What is the average cost of conveyancing fees in the UK?

    The cost of conveyancing fees can be influenced by multiple factors such as the property’s value and the complexity of the sale. The average cost of conveyancing is around £2,159.

    In online conveyancing faster?

    Online conveyancing can potentially be faster because of the efficiency of the online document management. This allows for quicker sharing of documents and updates. However, if the transaction is more complex then this can increase the amount of time the process will take.

    How long does the average conveyancing take?

    On average, conveyancing takes around 8-12 weeks to complete.

    Could I do my own conveyancing?

    Although it is possible to do your own conveyancing and there are no legal restrictions, there are many reasons that you should leave conveyancing to the professionals.

    DIY conveyancing can be complicated and time consuming.

    Using a qualified conveyancer can avoid potential legal issues, and problems with mortgage lenders who will not want to take the risk.

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