Avoid conveyancing fraud by choosing the right solicitor

Smiling solicitorPopular when it comes to cybercrime in the legal sector, conveyancing scams are on the rise. A 10% deposit is generally required on exchange of contracts for property purchases, so successful scammers can get a hold of a nice lump of money if they interfere with the conveyancing process at the right time. It’s therefore crucial for first-time buyers to choose their conveyancers carefully, in order to avoid scams and minimise the stress involved.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has set up a scam alert website to help property buyers make well-informed decisions when choosing a solicitor. The authority has also called on property professionals and solicitors to offer more clarity when providing details on conveyancing costs and services, especially for first-time buyers who are not yet familiar with the process. Out of 1,501 people surveyed who had made a property transaction in the past two years, 42% of first-time buyers and sellers thought their solicitor could have done a better job explaining their services to them, according to the SRA.

As landlord and property solicitors, Romain Coleman believes it’s important to understand the conveyancing process before choosing a solicitor to work with.

What is property conveyancing and who can do it for you?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property, land or buildings from one person to another. Every property sale or purchase must go through conveyancing and requires the buyer to hire a third party in order to make the transaction legal. In short, anyone buying a home to live in or to let as a landlord, must go through it. After an offer is accepted on a property, contracts must be drawn up and signed and the money transferred.

How do conveyancing scams work?

Conveyancing is carried out by your chosen executor, usually a solicitor. Mortgage lenders may require you to choose a conveyancer from an approved list. There are conveyancers offering cheap services online, but working with experienced property solicitors is the only way to be completely at ease when making such a significant transaction.

A recent article featured Howard Mollett, a first-time home-buyer who lost £67,000 in a conveyancing scam. In his case, scammers hacked into the email communication between him and his solicitor and, posing as his solicitor, the fraudsters asked him to transfer money into their specified bank account. Mollett discovered the scam after the transfer had been made, and by then it was too late.

Working with a conveyancing solicitor

You can be sure that Romain Coleman has taken all the necessary steps to protect your information, should you choose to work with our commercial and residential conveyancing solicitors. We can provide a clear explanation of the legal process and answer any questions you may have jargon-free, so you feel at ease through this important process of buying or selling property.

Contact us today to on 0208 520 4555 for a conveyancing quote.

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