Choosing a Legal Company to Buy and Sell your Home

publication date: Jan 21, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Choosing a Legal Company to Buy and Sell your Home

A Legal Company

Choosing a legal company while the property market is only just recovering from one of its biggest crashes is important to get right. If you don’t choose a legal company carefully, your sale or purchase may never even go through.

Did you know one in three sales fall through after an offer has been agreed? One of the key reasons for this is that the buyer can’t raise the finance required to purchase a property. Another major reason sales fall through is buyers and sellers pulling out because the legal process takes too long or doesn’t seem to progress at all. This is why it’s essential to find the right company to work with or you and everyone else involved will be wasting your time.

Read our:-

Top Five things you need to know when choosing a Legal or Conveyancing Company to Buy and Sell Your Home

Ideally you want a company that offers fixed fee and no sale, no fee legal services. This way they only make money if they are proactive and carry out your legals efficiently.

Communication in the legal process is key, but rarely done well! Talk to the legal company about how they keep in touch. These days most of the more ‘forward thinking’ buying/selling conveyancing companies who care about customer service, update you via your mobile phone with a text or via email. This means you don’t need to disturb the legal guys so they can spend time on progressing your purchase or sale!

Finally make sure when you compare quotes that you are comparing like with like. There are lots of different costs that you incur through the legal process. Here’s an example of where one conveyancing company looks really cheap, but in actual fact are the more expensive legal services:-

 Company OneCompany Two
Legal Fees£225 + VAT and disbursements£400 including VAT and disbursements
Actual Price (inc VAT)£265 + disbursements            £400 including disbursements          

Initially, Company One looks cheaper, as it costs £225 versus £400. So it looks like they are charging £175 less, until you realise that they don’t include VAT that you have to pay! Once this is applied, they do still appear cheaper, but now by £135.

Next, during the legal process there are these things called ‘disbursements’ which are essentially ‘other costs’ you have to pay for. They include things like money transfers which could cost around £35 and a charge for ‘Office copy entries’ and ‘Land Registry Fees’ which are paid to government organisations. These disbursements could easily add several hundred pounds to your final legal bill.

So if Company One charges £264 plus disbursements of £200, the total price you will pay will be £464, whereas by choosing Company Two you only pay £400 and this includes all your disbursement charges, so Company Two is actually charging you a lot less!

Not being specific about what you are paying for is a real trick of legal companies to capture your business by giving a ‘cheap’ headline legal price. They then make their money out of disbursement charges they never initially told you about. Other companies are much better at detailing exactly how much you pay for anything. So the moral is: be aware of ‘headline cheap legal prices’!

To choose a legal company:-

NEED A QUOTE? Visit our conveyancing partners to find out how much you should budget for. BUT don’t forget we should be able to save you money on your legal fees, while still getting a good service, so contact us by email or tel 0845 838 1763.


Need help with a property problem? Have a question? Why not call Designs on Property on 07585 897128 or Contact Us via email.
Kate's Consumer Portal
FREE Buy to Let eBooks

Download a copy of our
Buy to Let Show eBooks
for FREEsimply click on
the image below

Buy to Let Show - download our Buy to Let eBook for FREE