[Updated 2023] Finding the best online conveyancing reviews is vital if you’re to choose a firm that can complete your property transaction quickly and cost-effectively.
We’ve used several online conveyancing platforms in our time. With that in mind, here’s our expert guide to choosing the best online conveyancing firm.
Top Pick – Really Moving
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What we like about Really Moving:
- Full coverage of England and Wales
- Find the best local solicitors online
- Choose the best solicitor for you
- Fully regulated solicitors
- Excellent reviews from past customers
Wwe conducted our best online conveyancing reviews while moving house in 2021 and we were very impressed by ReallyMoving.
Firstly, they cover the whole of England of Wales thanks to their extensive network of trusted solicitors. That meant they had no problem with our sale and purchase being in different counties.
Secondly, they have fantastic reviews from people who have used their service. We are pleased to say our positive review can now be added to that list, too!
These reasons help ReallyMoving come out top in our best online conveyancing reviews.
However, it’s also worth pointing out their service is very thorough yet surprisingly fast. Plus it’s very cost-effective too.
We found that the options they put forward were no more expensive (in some cases they were cheaper!) than we were getting from our estate agent or even our own direct enquiries.
The one thing to keep in mind is that ReallyMoving are essentially a middleman. They put you in touch with up to 4 local solicitors they recommend and you’ll deal directly with those solicitors going forward.
We found this wasn’t an issue but we know it isn’t for everyone (as can be seen on some customer reviews), but we’ve found this arrangement to work very well for the vast majority of people.
Our Experience With Really Moving
We’ve used several online conveyancing solicitors over the years, and most recently we decided to try Really Moving to see what they did well.
We were selling our Nottingham property and moving to rural Lincolnshire so we used Really Moving to search for a solicitor to handle both the sale and purchase of the two properties.
As the property we were buying had a few quirks (notably an access agreement for the sewage treatment plant), we needed a solicitor we could trust to pay attention to the details.
Getting a quote through Really Moving was very straightforward and within moments we had a list of four possible companies we could use.
What we really liked was that with each one you can see an average score for the solicitor out of 5 based on customer reviews. Plus, there was a full breakdown of costs, too.
From here, we were able to choose which online conveyancing firm we wanted to use and our journey with Really Moving had reached a successful conclusion.
We’ll share more about our experience of online conveyancing firms below.
What Is Online Conveyancing?
Online conveyancing is when the solicitor chosen to complete the legal aspects of your property transaction primarily utilises online communication methods such as email or an online portal.
Typically, there’ll be no physical office that you can attend. Instead, everything is conducted online or over the phone. Any physical paperwork that needs signing will be sent via the post.
The services offered by an online conveyancer are typically the same as a local conveyancer. The main difference, then, is how the communication is handled throughout.
We’ve always preferred using solicitors who can provide an online portal as it makes it so much easier to keep track. We also found it useful when our buyer was chasing us for progress, we could send them screenshots or photos of the portal to help reassure them everything was progressing.
Online Conveyancers Vs Local Conveyancers
Before looking for the best online conveyancing reviews, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of online conveyancers vs local conveyancers.
The biggest advantage that online conveyancers have over local ones is opening hours. Often, you’ll find online solicitors have opening hours that extend well into evening and weekends. This can be vital when trying to push your transaction through to completion.
We had this when we moved from our first property to our second. We decided we had to pull our of our purchase over a weekend. As we were using an online conveyancing firm with a call centre open on weekends, we could immediately let them know and get work stopped on that property straight away.
It meant we didn’t have to worry for the rest of the weekend until the office re-opened on Monday.
Local conveyancers, on the other hand, only tend to open Monday to Friday during normal business hours (typically around 9am to 5pm). This can be frustrating if you also work during these hours or an issue comes up late on a Friday afternoon!
We’ve certainly had that a few times too. In fact, I’d say issues have an uncanny knack of raising their heads just before a weekend. When it happened to us while using a local conveyancer, we had an agonise wait over the weekend wondering how the problem could be resolved.
Other than that, there are fewer differences when comparing online conveyancers vs local conveyancers than you may first think.
Both should be legally qualified and experienced in completing property transactions, both will provide the same type of services and have a similar way of doing things.
However, online conveyancers will usually use an online portal to send important communication to you digitally, whereas many local conveyancers still rely on you visiting their offices on a regular basis.
That’s not say all local conveyancers rely on office visits. We’ve found that since the pandemic, many more have now turned to online platform and minimise face-to-face contact. The last local conveyancers we used utilised an online platform that was equally as good as any online conveyancers we’ve used.
Of course, which you might see as better depends on your personal preference!
Is Online Conveyancing Any Good?
As our experience shows, online conveyancing is just as good as using a local conveyancer. In fact, it can often be better!
The ability to just login to an online portal, check documents, approve suggestions, and answer your solicitors questions is very much an advantage. You can take your time to review things properly as and when suits you best.
We found we often get more protection with online solicitors too. ‘No completion, no fee’ guarantees are quite common as are fixed fee services. While these are also sometimes available with local solicitors, you might have to hunt around harder to find them.
Of course, whether you are looking at online conveyancers or local conveyancers – there are always bad ones around that give the others a bad name!
That’s why checking the best online conveyancing reviews is important. That way you can ensure you’re only using the most reputable and trusted solicitors available.
Our Experience With Online Conveyancers
We have used several online conveyancers over the years and all have been very good.
One particular one we used had a fantastic online portal as well as a ‘no sale, no fee’ guarantee. They also had a call centre that was open late into the night, seven days a week.
Sure, the call centre wasn’t full of solicitors so they couldn’t always answer your questions there and then, but they could always help reassure you and make sure everything was resolved quickly and without stress.
We put this all of this to the test when we had to pull out of a purchase due to a worrying survey that highlighted all sorts of potential issues.
We made the decision to pull out on a Saturday (mostly because we saw another property we had fallen in love with!). Normally, that would have meant a worrying wait until Monday, wondering how much it would cost us, how quickly things could be switched over, etc.
Instead, one quick call to the call centre confirmed it was covered under their guarantee and we wouldn’t be charged for the work on the purchase conveyancing to that point. They could also confirm that the searches hadn’t yet been ordered and so they could be cancelled without charge.
Plus, we gave them all the details of the new purchase so they could immediately start work on the new purchase first thing Monday morning.
This isn’t a service we could have ever expected from a local solicitor.
We really appreciated the ability to manage our conveyancing online, too. We could download documents or have them sent to us, we could upload them into the system or send them back to the solicitor.
When we wanted to check progress, we could look online at exactly what point we were at and what might be holding things up.
Essentially, it gave us back some control over the process and made everything much more efficient, speeding up the sale of our house AND the purchase of the new one.
With that in mind, we would strongly recommend online conveyancing services and would be reluctant to use anything else ourselves in the future.
Are Online Conveyancers Cheaper?
Whether online conveyancers are cheaper than local ones depends, of course, on who you decide to go with.
However, in many cases you will find that online conveyancers are cheaper than their local counterparts.
There are a few reasons for this.
The main reason is that online conveyancers enjoy better economies of scale. They cover much larger areas and so find it much easier to find new clients.
Since they do not have to maintain physical high-street offices, they also have much lower overheads. These savings can then be passed to consumers to help keep fees to a minimum.
This is handy since they need to offer competitive prices as they are competing to win your business both with local conveyancers and other online firms.
We found that using an online conveyancer was a little bit cheaper than comparable local conveyancers. However, we would say that the difference wasn’t huge, maybe 10-20% at best. However, any savings are good savings if the level of service is the same (or better) which has certainly been our experience).
Are Online Solicitors Safe?
Providing you use the best online conveyancing reviews to ensure you avoid the few bad ones, using online solicitors is just as safe as using local solicitors.
Just like their local counterparts, online solicitors should still be regulated by relevant authorities such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
That will ensure that if you have an issue, they are bound by the code of the membership body to resolve it in the correct way.
Of course, using an online conveyancer does mean you forfeit the ability to visit your chosen solicitor face to face. For some, this will understandably feel a little less safe. However, there isn’t really anything that should massively concern you.
The way of the modern world is for communication to happen online. The fact it does, won’t necessarily make things unsafe.
Providing your solicitor is using a secure online portal, there are very few things that could go wrong that couldn’t also go wrong if you were dealing with a local conveyancer.
Is It Better To Use A Local Solicitor For Conveyancing?
It’s not necessarily better to use a local solicitor for conveyancing. While they may have better local knowledge (which may help if there are any specialist surveys needed for the area you’re buying in), the truth is that conveyancing is a fairly standard process no matter where you are in the country.
Most issues that come up are not restrained to a specific area, and so local knowledge is rarely a particular advantage.
However, a local solicitor can sometimes cost you more than an online one and often won’t come with the same level of guarantees regarding fee limits and what happens if your transaction falls through.
While there is a lot to be said for meeting your solicitor face to face, it really isn’t necessary to do so. For that reason, using the best online conveyancing reviews to find a firm that can help you is certainly worth considering.
We have never found the lack of face to face contact a problem. In fact, to be honest, getting a face-to-face appointment with a solicitor can be difficult and often it’s that what slows down the whole process. We found that by being able to do most of our transaction online, the process was quicker.
We also didn’t find anything was lacking by not having a solicitor with local knowledge. Given that most of what the solicitor looks at are reports and search results, there’s very little local knowledge needed by the solicitor providing they can understand the reports.
How Do I Find The Best Conveyancing Solicitor?
Checking the best online conveyancing reviews is a great place to start if you want to find the best conveyancing solicitor.
These will tell you which firms are the most trustworthy and reliable and which appear to go above and beyond to get your transaction completed.
From there, you should be sure to get quotes from at least 2 or 3 different firms. If the quotes are relatively close you can start thinking about which firm you feel the most comfortable with.
Be sure to read our guide on how to choose a conveyancing solicitor before you make your decision!
Could I Do My Own Conveyancing?
Technically, yes. It is possible to conduct your own conveyancing on a property sale or purchase.
However, unless you’re legally qualified, it is generally a bad idea.
We get that it can be very tempting, especially if you’re trying to deal with slow solicitors. However, there’s a real danger that you will make a mistake or miss something that could land you in serious trouble.
Property transactions are extremely complex. When you hire a solicitor, they are there to act in your best interests and protect you from any legal disputes that may arise, either now or in the future.
They also handle all of the transfer of funds and ensure everything is completed on time. On the day of your move, this is a life saver as it means you can focus on the many other stresses moving day brings!
We’ve got to be honest, while it’s tempting to save money and do the conveyancing yourself, we are certainly pleased we never tried it.
There were too many potential issues that came up during each of our transactions, from checking access rights and contracts through to answering the enquiries of the other party’s solicitor. There’s no way we would have wanted to go through that stress!
If speed is your main motivation for considering doing your own conveyancing, check out our guide on how to speed up solicitors.
Otherwise, we’d strongly advise hiring an expert. Buying or selling a property is a big transaction, perhaps the biggest of your life. It’s simply not worth the risk of doing the conveyancing yourself unless you are fully qualified to do so.