Consumers not persuaded by cheap conveyancing quotes, major survey finds

Goldsmith: reducing confrontation

The large majority of home movers do not opt for the cheapest conveyancing, and are generally happy with the service provided by their solicitor or licensed conveyancer, major new research has found.

But the poll of 4,762 people who had moved house in the past year also found that they are heavily influenced in their choice of conveyancer by the recommendation of their estate agent.

The home moving trends survey – conducted by TM Group and The Property Academy – said that nearly half of movers (46%) found their solicitor through estate agent recommendation, while 31% had used the solicitor before. Some 14% were recommended by a friend, 7% searched online and just 1% saw an advert in their local newspaper.

Revealing the results at a meeting of the Conveyancing Association (CA) last week, Ben Harris, sales and marketing director at TM Group, said the results showed how important it was for conveyancers to stay in touch with former clients – given that it also found some people moving every two to three years – and also to have a ‘recommend a friend’ scheme.

Only 18% said they chose the conveyancer who quoted the lowest fee. “You don’t have to be the cheapest in order to win the business,” Mr Harris emphasised.

Asked for three words that best described their conveyancer, positive descriptions dominated – professional, efficient, helpful, friendly and thorough. ‘Slow’ was the main negative. Nearly four in five (78%) said they would recommend their conveyancer.

Mr Harris said: “The survey delivers some incredibly useful insights to assist conveyancers craft their marketing strategies and tailor their service to meet the needs of their clients. It’s really encouraging to see consumers give such high praise to their conveyancer, which underlines the fact that the majority of firms offer a professional and efficient service to their clients.”

Nicky Stevenson of The Property Academy added: “We’ve been conducting the survey for six years now and we believe it is the most widely completed consumer survey highlighting the trends and decision-making process in the moving home process. We added the questions around conveyancing to broaden out the insights and the feedback shows how much the consumer values the work of their conveyancer.”

Meanwhile, separate research commissioned by the CA found that over the last five years, consumers believe that 23% of all home purchases or sales have fallen through due to delays caused by poor communication between lawyers, lenders and estate agents.

For 52% of the 1,500 people who had bought or sold a house since 2008, the transaction took longer than expected, with just under half (48%) saying the process involved unforeseen delays. Nearly half felt that the various parties involved in their sale or purchase could have communicated with each other better, which would have speeded up the process.

In response, the CA has developed a best practice protocol aimed at improving communication. It was developed with and has been endorsed by four major corporate estate agent panel managers – Connells, Move with Us, Countrywide and LSL Property Services.

The protocol collates guidance from the Law Society, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Legal Ombudsman, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and case law, and the CA said it could shorten the length of time of a house transaction by up to five working days.

CA chairman Eddie Goldsmith told last week’s event that it hoped the protocol would reduce confrontation on the process by providing “straightforward and logical guidance” on those touch points in the conveyancing process which can be held up by differences between solicitors.

For a copy of the full home moving trends survey, e-mail

    Readers Comments

  • Very interesting reading – it shows above anything else that in many areas of law, solicitors must realise they are quite low down the food chain. Whilst the role of the solicitor is vital, access to the client invariably comes via estate agent referral.

  • Yes, but to balance that out James although nearly half of movers (46%) found their solicitor through estate agent recommendation, 31% had used the solicitor before and some 14% were recommended by a friend ( a total of 45%). If lawyers kept in touch with their clients more that percentage would be higher.

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