Diary of a high street conveyancer: 24th October 2022

It was interesting to see the results of the poll for the points I raised last week about conveyancing fees. I was pleased to note that most firms were not intending to reduce their fees even if the market slowed or dipped.

However, it was disappointing to see that many who answered thought that firms would start to undercut each other. That is where the danger is.

We need to be proud of what we do and even if we see other firms going in cheaply, remember two things. First, that there may be “small print” which includes add-ons which increases the price payable.

Second – and perhaps more importantly – be proud of what your firm offers. Charge more and tell the client why you charge more if asked about the neighbouring firm who charge less.

When faced with that question, I use simple maths to show the client what they may get. This is an easy example and is in no way indicative of prices being charged in my area, but just shows how you can justify it to the clients.

So, Mr. Client, Bodgett and Scarper charge £500; I charge £1,000. That may sound a difference but for every one case I have, B & S need two; for every 10 cases I have, B & S need 20, and I know that B & S are big on paying referral fees, so the reality is that they will in fact need 30 cases for every 10.

Mr. Client – please go with B & S and report back to me as to how easy it was for you to chat with them, how quickly they responded to your emails, and how comfortable you felt with them buying the most expensive asset you will ever own…

As I repeatedly say, conveyancing is a skill. It is not just a tick-box exercise; we are dealing with people’s lives. They deserve a good service, and a service that is reflected in the amount they pay to get that service. My one line would be do not rush to lower your fees when faced with a downturn in the market. Build your firm on reputation, not fees. If the market subsequently picks up, it will be hard to increase your fees.

This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

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