A significant proportion of home owners do not trust the law firms they are referred to by estate agents, a survey has found.
It also revealed that a quarter of home owners considered that lawyers offered “the lowest level of customer service that they encountered during life’s major transactions”.
The research, for property platform When You Move, was based on a poll of just over 2,000 people, including 1,350 home owners.
The 38% who mistrusted legal services referrals from estate agents blamed “biased referrals”, linked to “commission gains, geography and preferred relationships that aren’t necessarily the best for their property transaction”.
A similar percentage (36%) said that they found “the legal processing of their property transaction” the most dissatisfying part of buying and selling a home.
Dissatisfaction was highest among people aged 35 to 54 (39%), and lowest among the 18-34s (29%).
Nearly a third (29%) said the level of customer service from property professionals decreased from the point of an offer being accepted.
Over a fifth (21%) would not use the same lawyer again due to poor customer service, while some 12% said they were put off buying a home by the “long and arduous legal process”.
Simon Bath, chief executive and founder of When You Move, said: “With the results showing a clear deficit between the choice available and the trust people have in making the right decision, this report should serve as a call to action across the industry to bring about a more reliable delivery of customer service.”
There was little sign of a decline in consumers’ preference for word of mouth recommendations when searching for a conveyancer.
Only 17% said that they trusted the opinions of online reviews and customer feedback over those of their friends and family. The proportion was higher (24%) for those aged 18-34.
Despite their qualms, 16% of home owners said they accepted law firm referrals from estate agents.
Some 29% told researchers that during the sale or purchase of their property, they had to speed up the process themselves by chasing for updates.