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What is Online Conveyancing?
Written by Martha Lott
1st November 2018
(Last updated on Monday 14th January 2019)
Online conveyancing works exactly the same as the traditional conveyancing process by helping you with the legal aspects and paper work that comes with buying and selling a house, including carrying out searches and creating a draft contract.
The only difference with online conveyancing is that the process will take place online and over the phone as opposed to face to face meetings. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to compare conveyancers with a comparison site.
There are notable advantages to online conveyancing such as quicker transactions, a cheaper price tag and an easily trackable progress, however there are downsides as well. Online conveyancing will lack the personal touch that you get with traditional conveyancing, and most of the time the company will be dealing with a heavy workload.
The choice is ultimately 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 comes with online conveyancing to help you decide.
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 instead of meeting your conveyancer face to face.
The process for online conveyancing will remain the same as traditional conveyancing with your conveyancer liaising with the buyer/seller’s conveyancer, carrying out local and property searches, drafting and exchanging 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, the likelihood of being assigned your own personal conveyancer is slim. Online conveyancers usually offer cheaper prices than traditional conveyancing and will operate a heavy work load. There are advantages and disadvantages of online conveyancing that we will highlight throughout this guide, but the choice is ultimately yours.
Whether you choose to go with an online conveyancer or a traditional conveyancer, it’s important that the licensed conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor is fully regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or The Law Society.
To make your search for a trusted conveyancer easier, it’s strongly advised to use an online comparison site. By doing this, you'll have the guarantee to be matched with professional conveyancers who are fully regulated by either the CLC, SRA or The Law Society.
It’s also essential to make sure your conveyancer is covered with up to date Indemnity Insurance to be reassured they can be trusted.
Using an online conveyancer will come with many benefits. From a dashboard to track your progress online to the cheap price tag, we’ve listed to main advantages of online conveyancing.
Easy to Track Progress – As previously mentioned, online conveyancing will all be carried out online. You’ll have 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 that the process will be completed, which is a lot easier than attempting to track down your conveyancer for updates if you used a traditional conveyancer.
Cheap Price – The main benefit of using an online conveyancing service is that it’s generally cheaper than traditional conveyancing costs as they take on a lot more cases than traditional conveyancers, allowing them to offer a cheap quote.
Online conveyancing prices are cheaper as you won’t be paying for as many disbursement costs as you do with traditional conveyancing. As everything happens online, there will be less importance on paper documents that you end up paying for with traditional conveyancing.
Upfront Quote – With online conveyancing, you will receive an upfront quote covering all the costs for the process. However, you should make sure there are no hidden fees in the quote by checking the small print.
With traditional conveyancing, you will pay for everything at the end of the process and often there will be added fees that cropped up throughout the process.
Quick Transactions – Sending documents is significantly easier online than sending paper documents and that’s why many people prefer to do their conveyancing this way. You don’t have to wait to receive physical paper copies like you do with traditional conveyancing.
You’ll be able to upload and send legal documents, complete and sign the required forms and send payments online. This will significantly speed up the process as you won’t have to worry about creating copies and relying on the conveyancer receiving them in the post or delivering them in person.
Work Outside Normal Office Hours – Unlike traditional conveyancers, 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’s contact hours allow the process to be flexible, giving you an answer to your queries usually the same day, as opposed to waiting until the next working day as you would with traditional conveyancing.
Online conveyancing comes with its downfalls also. From the lack of a personal relationship with your conveyancer to the large volumes of work they take on, we’ll breakdown the disadvantages that comes with online conveyancing.
Lack of Personal Touch – Online conveyancing takes place solely online or over the phone with no face to face meetings with your conveyancer. This can be beneficial to some people, but most people prefer the personal touch that comes with traditional conveyancing.
With online conveyancing, you will never meet the conveyancer you’ve been dealing with, however, with traditional conveyancing you will have a single point of contact to your very own conveyancer.
Large Volumes of Work – To make a profit from offering such a cheap service, online conveyancers will take on a heavy workload to compensate. This can get frustrating when a complex issue arises as it will likely delay the process, making it extremely time consuming and potentially leading to customers pulling out of the chain or transaction.
Conveyancers who take on large volumes of work will further take away any potential of a personal relationship with your conveyancer as they will be focused on too many cases at once.
Hidden Costs – Online conveyancing quotes may seem cheap at first, but you have to be extremely wary of hidden costs. Ask for a full breakdown of the cost to have a better understanding of the price.
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 conveyancer.
Hard to Contact – As already mentioned, online conveyancers will have a heavy workload full of different cases, which means there you won’t have a single point of contact for your case. This makes it even harder to get through to a conveyancer via phone if you have a query, as many other people will be trying to do the same.
It’s also common to speak to a different person each time you have a query, which can get confusing if you discussed a certain query with one conveyancer and the new conveyancer has to catch up.
No Local Office – Online conveyancers won’t have a local office that you can call in to check on the progress of your case as you can with a traditional conveyancer. This will be a disadvantage to many as most people enjoy the personal service they receive from visiting a branch and meeting with the conveyancer face to face.
The argument is there that if your conveyancer isn’t local or doesn’t have a local office, then they won’t be as knowledgeable on the local area when they carry out searches as a traditional, local conveyancer would be.
Online conveyancers will be regulated by the CLC, SRA or the Law Society, making them fully regulated and trusted conveyancers. Many people fear that online conveyancing isn't safe and that their bank details won't be secure.
However, a legitimate and fully regulated online conveyancer will have security measures in place that will prevent scammers and hackers from accessing your private details to give you peace of mind.
Online conveyancing is right for most people. It will really benefit you if you have a busy schedule and don't have the option to visit the conveyancer's local office when you have a query as you can track your progress online in your own dashboard.
If you're not very familiar with using the internet and will struggle tracking your case in a dashboard, then a local traditional conveyancer may be better suited to you, not to confuse the process.