I've bought two houses (one after the other) and never had these kinds of troubles.
First house, I got the bank manager on a friends recommendation - turned out he was boss of St George (building society) in Canberra at the time, and I used a conveyencer he recommended - ie the one he used when he bought his house, and I used that one again when I sold. And I used a conveyencer that I knew here, who is in my scuba club. Again no problems.
The scariest thing that happenned with this house was the vendors wanted to stay in it another week and offered me a rent that would cover about half the interest I'd have to pay. I actually wanted to defer the settlement date by a week so I'd be back from my holidays but they wouldn't do it then, they waited until after we'd agreed a date and then asked. I had an agent to help me buy (or to reassure me that I was not being screwed) and he said do not let the vendors stay or you will never get them out. Which was possibly true. Wasn't a very hard decision for me as the vendors were not particularily friendly and a lot of lies had been told (by vendor and vendor's agent) in the sales process - not that any of them made any difference to the decisions I made.
I didn't care if they were going to scotland or were over run on their bridging finance and only moving a couple of suburbs over. It's easy to find out lies when their second address is listed in the phone book. Sigh.