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Holbrook and Co - Specialists in helping people buy, sell and mortgage property

Misleading estimates

It has become increasingly common for some firms to provide inaccurate, or at best, highly misleading estimates.

This problem has become even more apparent through internet quote engines. At Holbrook & Co., our policy is one of “transparent conveyancing” both in our performance, and with the estimates we provide. Clients are naturally confused about the wide range of estimates available, but should ensure that they compare “like for like”, and also take into account the level of service they are likely to receive for the fees.

It has been reported by the Legal Complaints Service that some firms are making extra charges for items which are clearly office overheads, such as postages, photocopying, contributions to indemnity insurance etc. Complaints about inaccurate costs information account for 20% of the total complaints made. There are now reports of firms making separate charges of up to £90 each for giving undertakings to other firms e.g. to repay a mortgage, forward documents and such like. (The average transaction involves 4 or 5 undertakings). These extras are charged over and above the fees included in the original estimate, and obviously distort the final total.

Some “household name” websites advertise conveyancing “from £250”! However, when the appropriate links are followed, the small print reveals a confusing array of extras. Common areas of abuse with estimates is to state that there are extra fees for repaying a mortgage on a sale, or dealing with a new mortgage on a purchase.

At Holbrook & Co, we regard such tasks as part of the conveyancing transaction, and our estimates will automatically cover this work as part of the job, not as an extra.

Similarly, many firms charge extra for dealing with any leasehold property, even through the majority of leasehold houses require little extra work compared to a freehold house. (However, leasehold apartments or properties involving a Management Company do involve a good deal of extra work). The effect of this is to double or even triple the original estimate.

We have studied estimates from many websites, particularly those advertising attention grabbing figures, and in almost all cases, the actual fees charged, after inclusion of all the “extras”, add up to match or greatly exceed our own fees. In fact, we are aware of sites who advertise fees at half our rate but whose final total is double our own!

Clients should therefore check what they will be paying, and that they will receive the service they expect.

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Holbrook & Co
Palmyra Square South
Warrington, Cheshire
WA1 1BL 01925 444422
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