Five questions you need to ask your conveyancing partner
David Gilman is the partner in charge of Blacks Connect
It’s no secret that lenders are streamlining their conveyancing panels. By dealing with fewer businesses they can minimise their compliance, fraud and quality control risks.
So why don’t you do the same? After all, isn’t your reputation important? Don’t you want to deal with the best conveyancing partners in the market?
Of course you do, so it’s time you did a bit of due diligence of your own. Below are five key questions you need to ask your current or potential conveyancing partners. And if you don’t like their answers, you know what to do.
1. Are you on all the major and smaller lenders’ panels, and are you confident enough in your volumes and quality that you will stay on them?
You want to refer business to a conveyancer that not only has established relationships with all the major lenders, but is well placed to survive the current panel culls. If you deal with a firm that gets dumped from some of the big lenders’ panels, they are not going to be much use to you.
2. Do you have, or are you in the process of applying for, the Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation?
The Law Society is painfully slow at processing applications for CQS accredition, plus it doesn’t actually guarantee service quality. But like it or not, it is fast becoming a standard that lenders are taking notice of, so if your conveyancing solicitor hasn’t got it, or bothered to apply for it, you have to question why, and be realistic about their future on lenders’ panels?
3. How much experience do you have in the conveyancing market, and how often do you do a conveyancing case?
Of course, quantity is not the only measure of quality, but it makes sense that a law firm that specialises in conveyancing has more up-to-date experience and knowledge than a local solicitor that handles the odd conveyancing case now and again.
Will I get a named point of contact, and how often will I be updated about my cases?
Some conveyancing firms actually split up the individual tasks so that different people are responsible for separate elements of the process. This isn’t good enough. One named conveyancer needs to have overall knowledge of, and responsibility for, the case. They must keep you fully up to date, and be easy to get hold of. Be wary of dealing with firms that can’t give you this assurance.
How do your costs compare with the wider market and – if they are rock-bottom – how can you maintain service standards?
If a provider is competing on price above all else, you have to question whether or not they are cutting corners. Most quality conveyancers – like Blacks Connect and other established firms – have competitive client charges and broker remuneration fees. If a business is seriously undercutting the industry norm on client charges, plus paying you handsomely, it should ring alarm bells.