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Purplebricks claim to be a refreshing alternative to the traditional high street agent. They tout low prices and positive reviews. Yet their services remain divisive. Although the company have an ‘Excellent’ 4.5 star review on Trustpilot, rival review site AllAgents rates the company at just 1.3 stars. Many of the poor reviews focus on a lack of communication, low motivation, and delays.
A significant number complain about the conveyancing services you have to use if you choose the ‘Pay Later’ option. We decided to take a closer look at the online agent’s legal services partner to see whether the poor reviews were justified.
Purplebricks recommend the conveyancing services of Premier Property Lawyers. The company trade under 62 different names so they may be called something else when you receive your quote. Their trading names include: eZie Conveyancing, Homemover Direct, and My Home Move Conveyancing.
A number of other Estate Agents also recommend their services, including: Hunters, Andrew Grant, Fine & Country, and Homesimple, and receive commission for their recommendations. The amount they get varies, but according to their website, it averages £252.82 per referral.
Premier Property Lawyers are proud of their status as the largest conveyancer in the UK. In the past few years they claim to have completed more cases than any other UK conveyancer. They credit this to their ability to combine ‘an innovative use of technology with personal service.’
Currently they employ 38 Licenced Conveyancers, 70 Solicitors, and 13 Legal Executives, with a combined experience level of over one thousand years. Along with this expertise, Premier Property Lawyers offers an ‘enhanced online case management service’ called eWay. This service allows you to track the status of your sale, and stay up to date with everything you need to do and what documents you need.
Yes. According to the Law Society, Premier Property Lawyers are not regulated by the Solicitor Regulation Authority. But, they are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
Purplebricks don’t charge for conveyancing directly. They refer you to their preferred legal services provider and collect commission. The amount quoted by Premier Property Lawyers will depend on the type and location of the property you are selling. They’ll also take into account whether you’re buying as well as selling.
If you choose to pay the Purplebricks fee upfront you’re not obliged to use their conveyancing service. However, if you choose their ‘Pay Later’ option, you’ll need to use their conveyancer.
‘If at any time you have agreed to take advantage of the Conveyancing Services and thereafter withdraw, fail or refuse to use the Conveyancing Services you will be required to pay Administration Charges once you agree a sale of your property.’
According to Property Industry Eye, Purplebricks receives a commission payment of £382.85+VAT from every individual they pass on to Premier Property Lawyers. You can expect this amount to be added onto any quote offered.
If you decide you don’t want to work with Purplebricks’ preferred conveyancer, you’ll have to pay an ‘administrative fee’. It’s unclear on their website exactly what this amount will be. Various sources suggest it is around £360 - essentially the same amount as the referral fee. If you’ve chosen deferred payment, and then sell your property with a different Estate Agent, you are still bound by this agreement to use their conveyancers or pay the fee.
Reviews of Premier Property Lawyers tend to focus on poor communication and delays. It seems common to wait several months to complete a sale. Sellers often report having to repeatedly call in order to move things forward. Although Premier Property Lawyers claim you will have a personal case handler, many complainants note difficulty in contacting their appointed representative. If you’re looking for a speedy completion, Premier Property Lawyers are probably not the best option for you.
The need to pay an ‘administrative fee’ could be a contributing factor in deciding to work with Premier Property Lawyers regardless. Especially if you don’t know which conveyancing firms are the best for you.
However, GetAgent’s research found that Purplebricks completed on just 57% of its listings*. We found that many customers eventually chose to appoint a traditional high street estate agent to sell their property. Not only do home sellers in this position have to pay both Purplebricks’ fee and their new estate agents commission, but if they chose the Pay Later option, they are also tied into using Premier Property Lawyers, even if they sell with the new agent.
‘It is a condition of Pay Later that you agree to instruct the Conveyancing Services to act on your behalf once a sale is agreed with a purchaser and you hereby agree that you will irrevocably instruct the Conveyancing Services to make payment in full of the Product Service Fee to Purplebricks or any third party entitled to collect payment of the Product Service Fee’
The best option, if you’ve decided to instruct Purplebricks, is to pay their fee upfront. This will allow you to compare their conveyancing services and fees with other local lawyers and give you an opportunity to pick a lawyer best suited to your needs, saving you time and money in the long run.
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