People happy with their conveyancers – but don’t know what they do

Rob Hailstone 2019

Hailstone: Public needs to be educated about conveyancing

Home movers are generally happy with the service they received from their conveyancer – but a large proportion have little idea what they actually do, new research has found.

This ignorance makes it harder to manage client expectations of how long the process will take.

The poll of 2,000 people, conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance on behalf of National Conveyancing Week, which is running this week, found that 75% of four home movers were satisfied with the service they received from the last conveyancer they used, and 74% of those who bought their home within the last five years said they would use the same firm again.

Indeed, almost a fifth had done that for their most recent transaction, while 21% sought a recommendation from family or friends, with others taking advice from other professionals on choosing a lawyer.

But only 40% of adults were aware of what conveyancing actually was – a figure that only rose to 52% of those who had previously used a conveyancer.

Large numbers of those polled were unsure about the services a conveyancer would provide – 48% were unaware a conveyancer acted on behalf of both them and the mortgage lender while 40% wrongly thought the conveyancer checked that the structure of the property was sound.

A majority said their experience of the conveyancing process could have been improved, with 38% saying they simply wanted it to be faster, 31% wanting more frequent communication from their conveyancer, and 21% wanting a clearer explanation of the legal process and the issues that arose.

Rob Hailstone, organiser of National Conveyancing Week and founder of the Bold Legal Group, said the findings on satisfaction were good news for the sector.

The results on how people found a conveyancer provided “a clear path in terms of making those professional connections, forging relationships with others within the property market ‘chain’, and ensuring ongoing excellent service leads to further work via these channels”.

He continued: “What is, however, also clear from these survey results, is the need for far greater education in terms of what conveyancing is, what firms do, and in a wider sense, what clients can expect from the service they receive.

“This is certainly important in terms of managing customer expectations in a process which, on average, is taking over 20 weeks to complete.”

Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, added: “While it’s great to receive good news that the conveyancing service is improving for clients, more needs to be done to raise awareness of what conveyancers do.

“I’m particularly alarmed that 40% of people wrongly believe the conveyancer will check the structure of the building.”

See blog: A sorry tale of two conveyances

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