Online conveyancing explained
If you’re buying or selling a property, an online conveyancing service can take care of the legal transfer of ownership for you, keeping you up to date by phone, email and app.
From managing your finances to meeting your soulmate, you can do most things online. And that includes getting all the legal work sorted for a house sale. In the past everything happened in person and by post. And that’s still an option. But now you can also work with a conveyancer who’s many miles away, tracking progress online whenever you want.
What a conveyancer does
You’ll normally use either a licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to manage the process for you. Every sale is different, but in general they’ll:
- handle all the legal paperwork
- ask for and analyse searches
- draft and review contracts
- gather and transfer money.
It’s their job is to ferret out any hidden problems and make sure the paperwork’s watertight.
Why you might choose an online-only service
The main advantage of online conveyancing is that the whole process happens remotely. The firm could be based anywhere in England or Wales, which helps to keep their costs down.
A named, qualified conveyancer will usually handle your case. But you won’t meet up. Instead, you’ll stay in touch by phone and email. And you might sometimes find yourself talking to another person in the customer support team, too.
Typically, you’ll log in to an online system and see updates on things like searches and mortgage applications. You might get texts when you reach milestones in the process as well.
Why you might choose a high-street firm
The main advantage of hiring a local firm is that you’ll be able to pop into the office, sign documents and politely put pressure on in person if things are taking too long. While they’re likely to handle some aspects of the process online, you’ll always have the chance to visit too. You’ll have a named conveyancer or solicitor working for you, but they might only be available from nine to five, Monday to Friday.
If your house sale is part of a bigger legal issue, like a divorce, you might want to use a firm with specialists to cover both and the time to meet and talk through sticking points in person.
Searching for an online conveyancer
While online conveyancing is generally cheaper than using a high street firm, price shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.
Read the reviews
Read through any online reviews you can find. Other people’s experiences will be a good guide for how it could go for you.
Look ahead to the final bill
Make sure you get a full list of the costs you can expect to pay, including any fees the conveyancer might pass on to you. They’re called ‘disbursements’ and cover things like local authority searches.
Make sure you’re covered
Check your conveyancer has indemnity insurance, so you’re covered if anything goes wrong.
In a nutshell
Online conveyancing can be a good way to keep a house sale moving along if you’re happy to handle the process without meeting your conveyancer. Updates by phone, email and app mean it’s often the cheaper and more flexible option. But there’s more to consider. Before you choose a conveyancer, compare reviews and think about whether you’d need to visit a local firm and meet face-to-face.