Almost half (43%) of homemovers used a specialist conveyancer in favour of a local solicitor last year, up from just a quarter (27%) in the preceding three years, conveyancing software company InfoTrack found.
The study, ‘Home Moving in the Age of the Consumer’, found thatdue to the ease of getting quotes online, the majority (59%) of homemovers obtain multiple quotes before choosing their conveyancer.
This is up from just a quarter (24%) of those who moved home three years ago.
Scott Bozinis, chief executive of InfoTrack, said: “Homemovers are now being more critical than ever when selecting a conveyancer.
“The proliferation of digital channels means consumers now have all of the information they need to immediately research prices and compare services to handle the purchase of one of the biggest investments in their lives – a home.
“This clearly illustrates a need to embrace online channels quickly if conveyancers want to stay competitive in a world of discerning digital consumers who are used to the power of making informed decisions using what is available at their fingertips, when they want.”
Three years ago, initial contact with conveyancers was commonly over the phone (41%) or face-to-face (26%). In contrast, over half (52%) of today’s homemovers reach out for quotes using online channels, including email (26%) and websites (26%).
A fifth (20%) of today’s homemovers are selecting a conveyancing service operating through primarily online channels during the legal side of the purchase. This is 8% more than those who chose a similar offering three years ago.
Younger generations are a key driver behind the shift to digital, with a quarter (24%) of homemovers between 18 and 24 citing an online offering as the reason behind their choice of conveyancer.
The use of digital communication methods in the conveyancing market has also increased significantly.
The use of text messaging from their conveyancer has more than trebled to 11%, compared to 3% who moved house more than three years ago.
Similarly, the amount who communicated with their conveyancer over an online portal has jumped to 15% from just 4% three years ago.
Richard Roberts, solicitor Lovedays Solicitors, said: “It’s evident from the research that in order to survive in this market, conveyancers now need to utilise the digital platforms that are available to them.
“Homemovers want to be in regular contact with their conveyancer at a time that is convenient for them.
“To stay competitive, we’re using digital solutions that not only allow us to work more efficiently, but also enable us to track our progress so we can easily update our clients, ultimately improving the customer experience.
“We have also enabled our website to be device friendly so consumers can go on the site while on the go.”