Do conveyancers pay for estate agent's referrals?

Maisie Bonfield  06-02-2020

In the current economic climate saving money is on everyone’s agenda. Buying and selling property can be expensive and it is understandable that clients want to save money where they can.

Your estate agent who has dealt with the marketing of your property, may suggest a conveyancer to you. This may appear to be the most cost-effective way to proceed with a property transaction, saving you time obtaining quotes from other conveyancers. What can sometimes be unclear is whether the estate agent is receiving a referral fee for making the recommendation.

The payment of referral fees by solicitors to estate agents is currently perfectly legal (although the process is currently under review by the Law Society) and to clients it can seem like a good deal.

The estate agent may even refer to the conveyancer as being ‘in-house’ making it seem like the whole process happens under one roof when in fact it can be that the conveyancer is in a different part of the country.

It may be that the estate agent promises a short time scale to completion, maybe 6 weeks, and this can also be very attractive to a potential client who is understandably keen to complete their purchase or sale.

We all know that recommendations are a driving force behind people making decisions about the things they buy and the services they use. Therefore, if an estate agent the client has already entrusted to sell their property, recommends a conveyancer, they are likely to feel that the recommendation is a good one or even an obligation to use that conveyancer.

However, the client has an absolute right to choose their own conveyancer – they do not have to accept any recommendations from the estate agent, despite what they may say.

Being cheaper does not always mean better and in the long run the client often pays for the privilege of the referral.

Here at Samuels, and unlike most firms who undertake conveyancing work in Devon, we never pay referral fees to estate agents. Instead, we rely on our excellent reputation which has been built on expert advice, friendly and approachable staff and uncompromising service.

Our new property solicitor, Maisie Bonfield, comments: “when it comes to choosing a solicitor for your property transaction you need to feel confident in the service you are receiving as, let’s face it, moving house is one of the most stressful things we do in our lives. Here at Samuels we do all we can to ensure that your transaction runs smoothly and you are kept up to date throughout the process”.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a property, get in touch for a sensible and realistic quote that does not include referral fees.