If you would like to know how much your conveyancing fees are going to be, then you should try a site like www.equoteconveyancing.co.uk (linked) and run a comparison.
These sites operate in exactly the same way as many of the other price comparison websites do. You usually just enter your postcode and the selling or buying price of the property or land you are about to be transacting in and you’ll receive a fee quote for the work plus costs within seconds.
You’ll find that the solicitors who are plugged into the back of these panel systems are doing it because of the volume of cases they can pick up from the panel membership. If normal conveyancing business was uplifted to 100 new cases every month and the base fee was just one hundred pounds, that would bring in £10,000 each month. Enough to pay the salaries of 2 to 3 legal executives to do the casework, and still make a tidy profit.
Fees will vary anyway depending on the type of work being done. For instance, there is more work necessary if you are a buyer as searches and enquiries have to be instigated and arguably more care needs to be taken as all the searches requested will have to be checked thoroughly, the contract inspected – as it is drawn up by the sellers solicitor, and a report issued to the buyer advising them of any anomalies therein.
In most cases, apart from instances where the buyer is not a first time buyer, the buyer normally has a house to sell too so somebody has to do the conveyancing work for that case so the solicitor will be charging two sets of fees. Feasibly, a discount could be negotiated where the solicitor is asked to deal with both aspects but maybe not, as it is unlikely that you’d instruct two different solicitors to deal with your case.
If you do obtain a quotation using one of these comparison sites it could be to your benefit to periodically obtain another quotation on a different day using the same set of entry data. You may find that there is a solicitor practice that has appeared on the quote schedule that was not included the prior occasion you asked for a quote. This is because the website administrators try not to pass too many cases to one solicitor firm and they try to pass out quotations evenly so most participants behind the panel get an opportunity to win the business. In view of this the administrators of the site tend to operate a quota based system where once a particular firm have won say 10 instructions in a day then their quotes will not be shown until the next day. It benefits the competing practices, particularly if one firm is deliberately manipulating their fee costs to be cheaper and thus more popular than anybody else and it also aids the credit control of the site operator where partner balances do not rise too high thus increasing their exposure to debt. What we mean is that each solicitor would be paying the administrating site owners a commission in the form of a referral fee to enable them to appear on the panel. In actuallity you may be surprised to find that just because they are solicitors and meant to be upstanding and professional you can find instances where they will wriggle and try to get out of paying their debts too – especially if they are having financial problems themselves. This will have no bearing on your quote but we’re just explaining the logic behind the tip and why the site administrators exercise some throttling of the leads generated.