With conveyancing there are often inherent anxieties, misunderstandings and frustrations for clients, who understandably see the process as getting from “a to z” as quickly as possible.
Whilst I do not expect clients to fully understand or appreciate what is involved in the legal aspects of buying or selling a property, it can be frustrating when clients believe that the process is very straightforward, involving a few checks and a quick glance over paperwork.
This afternoon I asked Darlingtons in-house marketeer to randomly pick one of my conveyancing files, and to conduct an analysis of the file. Here’s what he found :-
- the file involved the purchase of a leasehold flat in a large development in Canary Wharf
- from instruction to completion took 71 days
- the file contains 40 exchanges of correspondence with the seller’s solicitors, clients, lenders, estate agents, Land registry, Local Authority, Block Managing Agents and others
- the time spent on the file on documents rather than correspondence involved 60 minutes reading the lease, 60 minutes considering the seller’s property and leasehold information forms and raising follow up enquiries, 45 minutes checking a large pack of information and documents from the Managing Agents relating to service charges and other items, 20 minutes reading the lender mortgage instructions, 20 minutes checking the Land Registry titles and 45 minutes completing the Stamp Duty return
- time spent on phonecalls on conveyancing files is not always recorded but will typically be several hours at least on any transaction
Bearing in mind an average rate per hour for an experienced solicitor for litigation, business advice, divorce or other specialism outside of the City of London or West End is perhaps between £200.00-£250.00 plus VAT per hour, it can easily be seen from the above that conveyancing rates, typically around £850.00 plus VAT for a transaction such as the above, in fact involve an hourly rate which is significantly lower than other areas of law, when in fact the work involved, if done thoroughly, will typically involve between 10-15 hours of work.
For completeness, below are some photos of the file in question to give an indication of the correspondence and documents file on a typical conveyancing transaction.
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