Is Online Conveyancing Safe?
In your search for a conveyancer you may have found offers from online conveyancing companies. You may be apprehensive about instructing a solicitor you won’t be meeting face to face and there are things you should take into consideration before doing so.
Just like high street conveyancing solicitors, some will be excellent and others might not have the greatest reputation. It’s important to do your research. It’s a good idea to check out the online reviews before making your choice. Don’t assume they are all genuine; it can sometimes be difficult to tell. However, this is still a useful step.
Shop around online for quotes and make sure you compare like for like. See our guide on the conveyancing process to give you an idea of what you should be offered. Once you have a few quotes, speak to the firms directly and they should clarify anything that wasn’t made clear and you will get a feel for the company.
What Should I Be Offered?
Think about how you wish to communicate with your conveyancing solicitor. Are happy to exchange emails and speak on the phone or do you feel safer having face to face access to them?
Many online conveyancers operate a call centre. This can be handy if you might want to contact them outside normal office hours. They might have an online system to view the progression of your case from the comfort of your own home. On the downside, you might have to deal with several people rather than just one point of contact.
If you use a local firm you have access to your solicitor you may be able to pop into the office to check on progress. You are more likely to be assigned to an individual conveyancer or solicitor, but you will probably be restricted to 9-5 opening hours.
How Important Is Locality?
It is not essential for your conveyancing solicitor to know the area you are in. Local area knowledge is usually available easily online. Local developments or other factors that might affect your purchase will show up during the searches. The most important point to ensure is the reputation of your conveyancer. This will affect you more than their location.
Is Online Conveyancing Cheaper?
Sometimes you will find online conveyancing to be cheaper, but don’t fall into the trap of going for a cheaper offer only to find there are lots of add-ons that push up the conveyancing costs considerably. Get a list of all charges upfront so you can make a fair comparison with other services. Also ask whether the company has indemnity insurance and what it covers, just in case they make costly errors. All quotes from Conveyancing Supermarket include all legal costs, disbursements, VAT and Stamp Duty Land Tax to be paid.
Keeping Track Of My Case
Online conveyancers will usually offer you online tracking and your information is protected by data protection laws. You can keep an eye on progress from your home. You respond to queries and save documents rather than posting documents back and forth. However, if the firm is working to capacity, then it might not be updated as soon as it could be. Before you appoint a conveyancer, it’s a good idea to check out the conveyancing process so that you know what to expect.
Avoiding Conveyancing Fraud: Phishing Emails
An issue to be aware of is the danger of conveyancing fraud. The most common type of conveyancing fraud involves fake emails that appears to be from your solicitor, asking you to pay your deposit into a specific bank account. If you pay into a fraudulent account it can be very hard to get your money back..
While this type of fraud can be hard to spot, there are easy rules to stick by that can keep you safe. First, do not send any money to a bank account without first confirming with your solicitor over the phone that this is their firm’s account. Second, you can transfer a small amount of money to the specified account first as a test, then check with your solicitor that they have received it before sending the full amount.
Banks will never ask you for any personal information by email. Do not respond to any email asking you your full pin or password. Banks would only ask you for random characters at the most.Remember to check any links by hovering over them first without clicking to see the real web address source. Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes; this can be telling.
There are dangers in any online transaction involving large amounts of money. So long as you stay vigilant Online conveyancing should be perfectly safe.