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What is Online Conveyancing?

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

28th Nov 2019 (Last updated on 17th Sep 2021) 7 minute read

Online conveyancing works exactly the same as the traditional conveyancing process but is all online. It helps you with the legal aspects and paperwork that comes with buying and selling a house.

The online conveyancing process will take place online and over the phone as opposed to face to face. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to compare conveyancers with a comparison site like Compare My Move.

There are notable advantages to online conveyancing such as quicker processes, a cheaper price tag and trackable progress. However, there are downsides as well. Online conveyancing may lack the personal touch that you get with traditional face to face conveyancing.

The choice is yours if you decide to use an online conveyancer or not but Compare My Move have compiled this guide to highlight the advantages and disadvantages that come with online conveyancing to help you decide.

This article will cover the following:
  1. How Does Online Conveyancing Work?
  2. How to Find a Conveyancer Online
  3. Advantages of Using Online Conveyancing
  4. Disadvantages of Using Online Conveyancing
  5. Is Online Conveyancing Safe?
  6. Is Online Conveyancing Right For Me?
  7. Learn More About Conveyancing

How Does Online Conveyancing Work?

Online conveyancing follows the same method as the traditional conveyancing process, but the only difference is that online conveyancing takes place solely online or over the phone. You don't have meetings with your conveyancer face to face.

The process for online conveyancing will remain the same with your conveyancer liaising with the buyer/seller’s conveyancer. They will also carry out local and property searches, draft and exchange the contract and arrange a date for completion before finally making the buyer the legal owner of the property with the Land Registry.

With online conveyancing, you may find that you are allocated to a faceless ‘team’ rather than to an individual conveyancer. However, some online firms do offer your own personal conveyancer. Online conveyancers usually offer cheaper prices and to do this will undertake numerous transactions. There are advantages and disadvantages of online conveyancing that we will highlight throughout this guide, but the choice is yours.

How to Find a Conveyancer Online

Whether you choose to go with an online conveyancer or a traditional conveyancer, it’s important that the licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), The Law Society Scotland (LSS), The Law Society Northern Ireland (LSNI) or The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

To make your search for a trusted conveyancer easier, you should use an online comparison site like Compare My Move. By doing this, you're guaranteed to be matched with professional conveyancers who are regulated by either the CLC, SRA, LSS, LSNI or CILEx. It’s also essential to make sure your conveyancer is covered with up to date Indemnity Insurance to be reassured they’re trustworthy.

Here at Compare My Move, our conveyancing partners go through a strict verification process to ensure that they're fully-insured, qualified and able to provide a first-class service. Rest assured, you’re in good hands when working with a Compare My Move partner as we only work with the best conveyancing solicitors.

Advantages of Using Online Conveyancing

Using an online conveyancer will come with many benefits. From a dashboard to track your progress to the cheap prices, we’ve listed a few advantages of online conveyancing:

Advantages of Online Conveyancing

1. Easy to Track Progress

As previously mentioned, online conveyancing will all be carried out online. Some online firms will offer 'Case Tracking' where you have access to your own dashboard where you can keep track of your conveyancing progress in real time. The system will notify you when there’s an update in your case, which will all be easily stored in one place.

You’ll also be able to get an estimated date for when the process will be completed. This will all be a lot easier than attempting to track down your conveyancer for updates if you used a traditional conveyancer.

2. Cheaper Prices

The main benefit of using an online conveyancing service is that it’s generally cheaper than traditional conveyancing costs. They take on a lot more cases than traditional conveyancers, allowing them to offer a cheaper quote.

3. No Completion, No Fee

Many online conveyancers offer a ‘no sale, no fee’ policy. This means that if the property chain or transaction falls through for any reason, then you won’t have to pay any legal fees.

However, it’s always wise to review the policy before continuing, as there may be some transactions where this is not possible.

4. An Upfront Quote

With online conveyancing, you should receive an upfront quote fully detailing the costs for the process. Some might offer fixed fee conveyancing, whilst others might charge an hourly rate. The terms and conditions should also contain details of the cost of additional services or situations when additional fees may arise, together with their expected costs.

5. Quick Transactions

Conducting the transaction online is quicker and easier than the traditional method of making an appointment and attending the solicitor’s office in person to go through all of the paperwork. Documents are sent and received instantly via email using online conveyancing.

You should be able to upload and and send completed documents and forms via email and make payments online. This will help speed up the conveyancing process as you won’t have to worry about creating copies or rely on the conveyancer receiving them in person.

6. Work Outside Normal Office Hours

Unlike traditional conveyancers, some online conveyancers operate outside typical working hours. This is a huge benefit to those who work the 9-5 shift as local conveyancing offices are usually shut by the time you’ve finished work.

Online conveyancing contact hours tend to be more flexible giving you more opportunity to discuss your transaction.

Disadvantages of Using Online Conveyancing

Online conveyancing also comes with its own downfalls. From the potential lack of a personal relationship to the large volumes of work taken on, we’ll breakdown the disadvantages that comes with online conveyancing:

Disadvantages of Online Conveyancing

1. Lack of Personal Touch

Online conveyancing takes place solely online or over the phone with no face to face meetings. This can be beneficial to some people, but you risk losing the personal touch that can be offered by traditional conveyancing firms. Online conveyancing also potentially means you’ll be speaking to a different person each time you have a query, which can get confusing.

With online conveyancing, you will not meet the conveyancer you’re working with and you might have to deal with a faceless team. However, there are some online firms that do offer a personal conveyancing experience.

2. Large Volumes of Work

Online conveyancers will often take on a significant workload to allow them to offer competitive prices. This can get frustrating when a complex issue arises and you require an immediate response or an issue to be dealt with urgently. You may encounter a delay whilst you are waiting for your conveyancer to deal with other transactions at the same time as yours.

Using a conveyancer who takes on large work volumes might further reduce your ability to receive a personal service. You may also encounter difficulties contacting your conveyancer if other people are trying to contact them at the same time.

3. Hidden Costs

Online conveyancing quotes may seem cheap at first, but you have to be wary of any hidden costs. Ask for a full breakdown to have an immediate understanding of the price you’re expected to pay.

If you think the price is too low or you notice disbursements missing from the quote, then contact the conveyancer for a full price before continuing with their service. If the quote seems too cheap, then you should be concerned about going forward with that specific conveyancer.

4. No Local Office

Online conveyancers are not likely to have an office local to you so that you can visit them during the process. This might be a disadvantage to some people who are used to a personal face to face service.

Is Online Conveyancing Safe?

Online conveyancers should be regulated by the CLC, SRA, LSS, LSNI or CILEx making them fully regulated. Many people fear that online conveyancing isn't safe and that their bank details won't be secure.

However, a legitimate and regulated online conveyancer should have security measures in place to reduce the risk of scammers and hackers from accessing your private details.

Is Online Conveyancing Right For Me?

Online conveyancing will be right for many people. It will benefit you if you have a busy schedule and don't have the option of visiting the conveyancer's office when you have a query. Instead, you can track your progress online in your own dashboard or simply call or email your conveyancer.

If you're not familiar with using the internet or not willing to receive multiple documents and forms to complete, review and sign via email, then a local traditional conveyancer may be better suited to you.

Learn More About Conveyancing

This article is part of our conveyancing guide. Next, we take a look at restrictive covenants. To learn more, read what is a restrictive covenant.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

Gareth Brooks

Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

Solicitor and Partner at RMNJ Solicitors, RMNJ Solicitors

With 19 years of experience in the residential conveyancing industry, Gareth Brooks is a partner and head of management for the conveyancing department at RMNJ Solicitors.

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