Solicitors should offer clearer communication on what conveyancing involves says legal body

23MAR

Solicitors should offer clearer communication on what conveyancing involves says legal body

Fri 23 Mar 2018 by Frances Traynor

At Homeward Legal, we pride ourselves on our transparency, clear communication and speed of service. And we only work with solicitors on our nationwide panel who adhere to those same principles when dealing with your conveyancing transaction.

The reality, of course, is that conveyancing for many people is not a simple, straightforward process. And now the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the body that regulates solicitors, has said more needs to be done to help buyers and sellers make an informed decision on which conveyancing solicitor they should choose.

Conveyancing is the essential legal process of buying or selling land and property. However, concerns have been raised about the conduct of some solicitors and the quality of service they provide. The risk of cybercrime and mortgage fraud are also rising, putting both clients and solicitors at risk.

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Navigating a complicated system

While the government has announced its intention to reform conveyancing in England and Wales to make it cheaper, faster and less stressful, in the meantime buyers and sellers have to deal with the system as it currently operates.

To gauge public concern and ideas about conveyancing, the SRA commissioned an independent report into the conveyancing market, conducted by IFF Research. More than 1,500 people who had bought or sold a residential property in the last two years were asked to take part in a survey, while the research also included in-depth interviews and focus groups.

The research revealed that 76 percent of those quizzed were satisfied with the legal services they received. More than a quarter (27 percent) used their estate agents' advice to find a conveyancing solicitor, with 25 percent acting on personal recommendations.

Inefficiency a problem

When asked how happy they were with the service they received, 14 percent said they were dissatisfied with the most common causes for concern were slow and inefficient solicitors (37 percent), poor communication (22 percent) and errors made by the legal representative (17 percent). The most common mistakes were drafting contracts and errors in the property's title, which can affect the legal ownership.

A fifth of those who took part in the survey said their solicitor didn't clearly explain the legal process. And that figure rose to 42 percent among first-time buyers, a cohort that the SRA said need particular attention to ensure they get the information they need on what buying a property involves.

A total of 31 percent of all buyers and sellers said they had not received details on how to complain if their solicitor failed them in any way.

Daunting and complex

Paul Philip, chief executive of the SRA, said: "Buying or selling a property can be daunting, stressful and complex, especially for first-time buyers.

“The research shows most clients are happy with the service they get from their solicitor. But there is clearly room for improvement, particularly when it comes to providing the detail on cost and service that people are looking for. This report will feed into our thinking on what sort of information we want to see law firms publishing."

Leasehold properties presented a particular challenge to buyers, according to the research. A fifth of those who bought leasehold said they could not recall receiving information about the length of the lease, the service charges involved and other payments such as ground rent.

Homeward Legal's nationwide panel of solicitors adhere to our high standards of service, timeliness and clear communication. We work with solicitors who are expert in buying and selling leasehold properties, ensuring you receive all the information you require on what that involves.

Call our team now on 0800 038 6699 to find out how Homeward Legal can deliver the right conveyancing service for you.