Online conveyancing isn't as popular as it should be. Understandably so, mostly because conveyancing as a whole is still largely rooted in traditional means. A lot of the processes available today are dependent on the postal service, need wet signatures, and are still based on paper. Thankfully, quite a few firms are starting to slowly but surely embrace innovation and technology.
In this blog, we're going to explore online conveyancing all the way to the pros and cons in order to help the undecided make an informed decision.
Online Conveyancing: How Does It Work?
Conveyancing involves reviewing a seller’s property and a buyer’s property and drafting a contract detailing the proper transfer of ownership. Because the mandatory guidance requires due diligence and scrutiny, the house is generally left in the same condition as when it was first purchased. Any mortgages on the property must also be paid off before the proper transfer of ownership can occur.
Online firms work the way 'high street' or traditional firms do. Alongside mandatory guidance, each conveyance has to do legal checks or due diligence. Afterwards, the following need to be accomplished as well:
Deal with mortgage companies
The biggest difference when it comes to online conveyancers is that some processes are more efficient and streamlined. An online conveyancer will make forms more convenient. For example, web forms will be sent for completion instead of forms being posted.
It's generally believed that the saved effort and time will help the sale move along.
All of that said, some elements of the conveyancing process will still require manual actions instead of digital means.
Signing contracts, for example, e-signature software, is still not acceptable when it comes to some documents. Certifying identification also has to be done in person. When it comes to the work in general, though, online conveyancers and traditional ones function the same.
The conveyancing process can trace its issues mostly through systemic means. It's directly related to the way processes are managed or handled (not via the conveyancer practices).
What Are the Advantages of An Online Conveyancing Firm?
Better firms will have KPIs (key performance indicators) to make sure every conveyancing process stage is done in a timely way.
Case tracking and progression systems are often part of what online conveyancers have to offer. It means the ability to track a sale or three in real-time, even outside regular working hours.
For some online conveyancing firms, there are advanced processes in place meant to prevent gazundering or gazumping.
Lower overheads are usually passed by the firms in competitive pricing that's relative to “high street” conveyancers and solicitors.
Online conveyancers have longer hours of operation. Responses to any questions during weekends or in the evenings will likely come through.
Periodic alerts via text or email allow direct responses, keeping it all in a single place. All of those messages will be in the inbox designated for case tracking.
Professionals are usually available on the other end of the line.
Property lawyers will be able to be assigned milestones or mini-deadlines. There will be a general alert should some steps within the conveyancing process not see fulfilment.
Quotes are instantaneous; it will be easy to make a decision as to whether or not to push forward.
Relevant case notes and documentation will be in a central place, which means loss will be at a lower risk.
Seller forms that are compulsory (for leasehold properties, that's generally the TA6, TA7 and TA10) can be completed digitally. Things are made even more convenient by the fact that some fields are filled instantly, affording even more convenience.
What Are the Disadvantages of Online Conveyancing Firms?
“Conveyancing by numbers” firms are generally of high volume. This means that people who are new to the process that may need a closer guide or some kind of “hand-holding” are better off with the traditional means.
Direct contact may not be possible since online forms generally have more than one conveyancer handling their cases.
Legal advice will generally be the same, except there is no face-to-face or “personal touch” involved.
Unusual situations may lead to an automatic stop.
Online Conveyancing: How Safe Is It?
Internet-based property transactions are safe. Firms that conduct them invest heavily in security systems and other technology to protect your information. Any personal information you provide will be safe from being lost, stolen, or subject to identity theft. There's actually a rather solid argument about how data like sensitive information regarding customer/client details are much safer in the cloud.
Using online processes also helps things to be easily searchable and far more transparent.
Online Conveyancing Quotes
When you're going shopping for a firm, it's worth checking to see if the company has been quality assured and regulated by the government. Before you sign up or sign on for any online conveyancing service, make sure you check their reviews to make sure they are trustworthy. It's also a good idea to ask for a shared screen tour or conference call so you can be certain that it all works well and logically.
You should also ensure that there's no need for fees to be paid before the work has actually started. Until the sale is complete, most online conveyancers aren't supposed to charge a thing. If you're being asked for bank details or card details, especially if they seem rather pushy, that's a big red flag.
What does fall under normal in terms of advanced fees is what's known as disbursement costs: essentially, third-party expenses. If those are being asked for upfront, don't panic; that's perfectly normal.
All of that said, it's equally vital to make sure to steer clear of 'pound shop' conveyancing. According to research, several online firms today charge under £500. That initial amount provided generally already includes value-added tax (VAT).
While that sounds like a pretty good deal, there may be more than meets the eye in those cases. What those firms have a tendency to do is lure customers in by offering competitive rates but hit them much later on with hidden charges at the moment of completion. Any savings that were thought to have been had are then rendered invalid.
Conveyancing, in general, has a rather traditional foundation. In a number of ways, many consider it to be outdated. With the advancement of technology, this is thankfully not the case overall. Instead, many parts of the process are now modernised, such as being able to get a quote instantly by using a conveyancing calculator tool.
Trying to find a conveyancing fees calculator? Check out Conveyancing Calculator today! We’ve got a conveyancing quote calculator that can provide instant prices straight from a UK-regulated SRA property solicitor or CLC licensed conveyancer.