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UK Residential Conveyancing Consumer Research Report

  • ID: 4856142
  • Report
  • November 2019
  • Region: United Kingdom
  • 49 Pages
  • IRN Research

The latest consumer research findings from the author show that law firms and solicitors continue to be the preferred choice for conveyancing advice and experience and relevant qualifications are what a client looks for most in an advisor. Price is also important but is not the main choice criteria. A majority - 55% - do shop around when looking for a conveyancer.  

The Residential Conveyancing Consumer Research Report 2019 is the latest in a series of reports from the author on the legal services market and offering insights into consumer behaviour, perceptions, brand awareness, and opinions. This report is based on responses from 562 consumers that have purchased a residential property in the last two years.

Other headlines from the survey include:

  • A majority would go back and use the same conveyancer again if another house purchase or sale arose and this reflects generally high client satisfaction.
  • While online volume conveyancers are being used more their use is still some way behind solicitors and individually licensed conveyancers. DIY conveyancing where individuals complete the process themselves without turning to professional advice is still very limited.
  • In a buyer’s market, 41% of buyers paid a price lower than the asking price. Only 18% paid more than the asking price, and the rest paid the exact price asked for.
  • Fixed fees were paid by over 90% of buyers. The fixed fee quoted at the start of the process is the final fee charged for almost 6 out of 10 buyers but there are nearly one in four buyers that were charged a final fee that was more than originally quoted.
  • Just over a quarter of conveyancing clients have been able to take advantage of the unbundling of services. Over a third have had 24/7 online access to a portal where conveyancing progress could be tracked while access to a telephone helpline was there for around 1 in 5.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown

1. Executive Summary

  • Overview
  • Over half of buyers are first-time buyers
  • High use of online sites by buyers to find properties
  • Law firms and solicitors - still the only advice source used by a majority
  • Most do shop around for conveyancing advice
  • Over half of residential properties valued at £250,000 or less
  • It’s a buyer’s market
  • Three-quarters take out a mortgage but almost one in five are cash sales
  • From start to completion takes an average of around 4 months
  • The buying chain is the only problem experienced by a sizeable group of buyers
  • Various ways to find a conveyancer but previous use and recommendations lead the way
  • Client satisfaction ratings are pretty good but still room for improvement
  • Over 9 out of 10 pay a fixed fee for their advice
  • Average conveyancing fees around £1,200 to £1,300
  • A clear majority claim to understand other costs involved
  • Unbundling and use of additional services for some
  • Experience/qualifications are the key thing to look for, plus cost and speed
  • There is client loyalty - most would go back to the same conveyancer again
  • No consensus on possible improvements to the conveyancing process
  • A market still struggling to show sustained growth
  • Uncertain times ahead but law firms likely to maintain their market position

2. Introduction & Scope

  • Report coverage

3. Residential Property Purchasers: Timing & Profiles

  • Half of those surveyed have purchased in the last year
  • The clear majority take a mortgage, and over a quarter bought a second home here
  • Most complete in 6 months - almost 4 out of 5 thought it would take less time

4. Paying For The Latest Main Property Purchase

5. Sources Used – Finding Properties and Conveyancing Advice

  • Online national property sites lead the way but local estate agents important
  • Law firms/solicitors at the heart of the conveyancing process
  • Shopping around for an advisor is important to a majority
  • Some can count on repeat business, but recommendations also important

6. The Conveyancing Process

  • A majority have to deal with an unforeseen issue in the conveyancing process
  • Unbundling used by over a quarter, and online access for over a third

7. Customer Satisfaction

  • A majority likely to stay with their conveyancer if there is a next time

8. Paying For Conveyancing Services

  • More than nine out of ten buyers pay a fixed fee
  • The median fee is around £1200 to £1300
  • Less than 4 out of 10 pay final bill they expected
  • A majority of purchasers say they are clear about other costs

9. Purchase Drivers

  • Experience/qualifications are the main drivers but cost and speed not far behind

10. Residential Property Prices and Values

  • Average house value is just over £262,000

11. Potential Improvements To The Conveyancing Process

  • No clear consensus on improvements to the conveyancing process

12. Market Size and Future Trends

  • Peaks and troughs in the conveyancing sector
  • Forecast of the modest increase in property transactions

List of Figures
Figure 1 Demographic breakdown of the survey sample (number and %)
Figure 2 Property purchases – timing and buyer situation
Figure 3 Property purchases – reasons for mortgage
Figure 4 Property purchases – time to complete
Figure 5 Payment methods for the last property purchase
Figure 6 Price paid compared to asking price for property
Figure 7 Sources used to look for properties
Figure 8 Key professionals used for legal advice when buying a house
Figure 9 Sources used to find a legal advisor when buying a house
Figure 10 Main source used to find a legal advisor when buying a house
Figure 11 The problems encountered when buying a residential property
Figure 12 Additional services offered by a conveyancer
Figure 13 Satisfaction with service from legal advisor/conveyancer
Figure 14 Satisfaction with service from legal advisor/conveyancer – detailed numbers
Figure 15 Future use of legal advisors/conveyancers
Figure 16 How conveyancing services are paid for
Figure 17 Final conveyancing fees
Figure 18 Buyer perceptions of their conveyancing bills
Figure 19 Understanding of search fees and stamp duty
Figure 20 Factors considered important for determining which conveyancing firm is used
Figure 21 Factors considered important when choosing a conveyancer – detailed numbers
Figure 22 Price/value of property currently owned or planning to buy
Figure 23 Possible improvements to the conveyancing process
Figure 24 UK - number of residential property completions with value over £40,000, 2014-2019

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown