A digital conveyancing platform says a lack of transparency in the house moving process - particularly regarding legal costs - is deterring buyers and sellers.
Research amongst 2,003 people by the platform When You Move, and shared exclusively with Estate Agent Today, shows that when fees for estate agents, surveyors and others are combined they cost £8,113 more than the typical buyer expects when purchasing a home.
Some 28 per cent of buyers say they would have pulled out of their purchase had they appreciated beforehand the full scale of the charges, while 20 per cent have had to turn to family or friends to help cover the transaction charges.
And a third of those questioned say they lost a chunk of the money they had saved for a deposit on fees that they had not budgeted for.
However, the platform reserves its strongest criticism for conveyancers and their costs.
Some 25 per cent of respondents say their solicitor “misled them” in relation to the true extent of fees
Broken down by age, the buyers aged 18 to 34 say the unexpected legal costs added up to £2,823. Amongst those Agent 35 to 54, the cost was £9,498 of additional fees they apparently had not expected.
Overall 58 per cent of respondents in the survey said they were ‘stung’ by higher than expected conveyancing costs of between £1,000 and £4,000; some 14 per cent felt the additional fees were between £5,000 and £10,000.
Some parts of the conveyancing industry are addressing transparency issues as soon as early next month, with members of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers agreeing to put some price and service information on their websites and in other media from December 6
The CLC has already published templates and examples of displaying cost information for both conveyancing and probate work.
Firms are able to decide the best way to display cost information, such as examples of fixed fees based on specific values or a range of values of properties, hourly rates of members of staff with indicative timescales for transactions, or through instant estimate generators.
However, the CLC cautions that any estimate generator should produce an instant result directly to the consumer. “A consumer shouldn’t have to provide contact details to receive a call-back or email for an estimate” the guidance says.
Meanwhile When You Move says it is launching a new tool for agents to install on websites offering what it calls “a quick and accessible service for consumers to use when they are searching for the costs of a conveyancing firm.”
The platform says the tool - QuickQuote - “eradicates the opaqueness shrouding UK conveyancer fees by ensuring all final costs are presented for evaluation at the beginning of the solicitor selection process.”