23 Mar

Solicitors should be clearer on total conveyancing services says legal body

At Homeward Legal, we pride ourselves on our transparency, clear communication and speed of service in the total conveyancing services we offer. We only work with solicitors on our nationwide panel who adhere to those same principles. The reality is that conveyancing for many people is not a simple or straightforward process. Now the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the body that regulates solicitors, wants more done to help buyers and sellers make an informed decision on which conveyancing solicitor they should choose.

Concerns over conduct

Conveyancing is the essential legal process of buying or selling land and property. However, buyers and sellers have raised concerns about how some conveyancing solicitors behave. They also questioned the quality of some total conveyancing services. With instances of cybercrime and mortgage fraud are also rising, both clients and solicitors are at risk.

Navigating a complicated system

The government has announced its intention to reform conveyancing in England and Wales to make it cheaper, faster and less stressful. Meanwhile, buyers and sellers are stuck with the current system. To gauge public concern, the SRA commissioned an independent report into the conveyancing market, conducted by IFF Research. Researchers quizzed more than 1,500 people who had bought or sold a residential property in the last two years. The research involved in-depth interviews and focus groups. The study showed that 76 percent of those quizzed were satisfied with the legal services they received. More than a quarter (27 percent) chose a conveyancing solicitor based on their estate agents’ advice; meanwhile, 25 percent chose based on personal recommendations.

Inefficiency an issue in conveyancing services

Researchers asked participants how happy they were with the service they received: 14 percent said they were dissatisfied. The most common causes for concern were:

  • Slow and inefficient solicitors (37 percent);
  • Poor communication (22 percent);
  • 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.

1st-time buyers need particular attention

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. The SRA said particular attention should be paid to first-time buyers to ensure they get essential information on what buying a property involves. A total of 31 percent of all buyers and sellers said they did not know how to complain if their solicitor failed them in any way.

Daunting and complex

Paul Philip is the chief executive of the SRA. He 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. “This report will feed into our thinking on what sort of information we want to see law firms publishing.”

Leasehold properties a challenge

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

Trust in Homeward Legal

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. And each will ensure you receive all the information you require on what buying leasehold involves. Call our team now on 0800 038 6699 to find out how Homeward Legal can deliver total conveyancing services for you.

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