We recently used Clapham & Collinge in Norwich to purchase a buy to let via a Ltd Company. The service they provided was thorough however there was some issues throughout the process, and we did not find the customer service very friendly. (law firms reading this have a read through this article)
In total the mortgage took nearly 6 months (note there was no-chain either end), mostly I believe to the fact of Clapham and Collinge taking their time with every detail (which can be a good thing) even though it was known to be a family sale, they also did walk us through the company legal side reasonably well. That said this still seems a very long time even though we where very prompt with our responses.
We also had a gifted equity deposit this caused a lot of confusion after several phone calls and emails over two weeks from us, and calls from the sellers solicitors they finally understood the concept of a gifted deposit, even though they knew this from the outset, and instead of requesting additional deposit funds from us, adjusted the completion statement correctly.
Finally when we did complete, we found out that additional charges of £600 where applied these where not on the completion statement, they did send an engagement letter which had the charges in there but we thought these formed part of the initial quote.
In their brochure they quote
“We offer fixed fee quotations which means that we are honest and upfront with no hidden charges. The disbursments can change but your member of staff will always advise you of this and obtain your consent.”
We feel they did not highlight this in non-lawyer terms that there would be additional charges for the business part of the transaction.
We highlighted this to them and the only response they could give was from a graduate, so much for being in experienced hands and customer care.
They also waited till after the exchange to do company checks. So after waiting nearly 6 months , if something was wrong with the ltd company setup, it could be a big problem to correct it, this seems the wrong order to do things.
In summary they would not be my first choice in future, the initial quote they gave did not include the business legals and checks, the additional charges seemed like hidden charges to us. Had we known this we would have used another supplier who came in cheaper. Wether this was down to our broker who recommended and obtained the quote or down to Clapham and Collinge is unknown.
We’ve also used solicitors who conduct their business via email/online it’s much more efficient, one we recommend that we’ve used in the past is Beaumont legal. They give an updated email status every step of the way which also has the outstanding steps, and avoids a lot of the unnecessary letter writing.