Yesterday afternoon, an email pinged in from a new buyer with all their details enclosed to substantiate the offer they’ve just had accepted. Everything was fine until we got to the section on which conveyancing solicitor they’d chosen – at that point, you could hear a collective sigh in the office as we all realised yet again we’ve really got our work cut out for us on this one. Our vendor is using an excellent local Bath solicitor we’ve worked with for many years and have a wonderful relationship with so I’m even hesitant to let them know the buyer has picked a well known Leicestershire based battery farm conveyancer to act for them.
As an estate agent, what do you do in this kind of situation? You know the conveyancing process is a nightmare at the best of times – guiding stressed & emotional people through a clunky and archaic set of legal hoops is always fun – but my heart always sinks when I see certain conveyancers names on a memo of sale. I’d love to tell this buyer what I actually think of their choice but I’m pretty certain they’ve been “recommended” to this firm by their mortgage broker and I’d be fighting a losing battle telling them to get rid of them. I’ll have to warn my client though as the best case scenario will be a seriously lengthened sales process, constant chasing required and we’ll probably have to defuse all kinds of situations along the way.
From our experience, I’d wonder if any conveyancing callcentre that feels the need to add an adjective to their name could be investigated under the Trades Misdescriptions Act. Getting any update on a sale beyond a computer generated tick box list is a massive exercise in frustration. The fees might be low compared to a decent local solicitor but you know what they say about nuts and simians.
The problem is made worse by all kinds of panel arrangements with mortgage lenders or referral deals with mortgage brokers or some estate agents – a certain violet tinged online “agent” is an example of this where you can only access their deferred fee deal if you agree to use their conveyancer (and then that conveyancer no doubt pays a kickback to the “agent”).
(On this subject, I know many proper estate agents I speak with regularly are heartily sick of doing all the work for online agents chasing chains through as they’ve already got their money and they couldn’t care less if the transaction actually completes.)
If you’re spending the kind of money any property costs these days, please pick a proper local conveyancing solicitor to act for you. Yes, it will cost you more but professional local expertise should do. The time and stress saved for all parties should easily make up for the extra cost. Shop around for detailed quotes, ask your friends for recommendations and, if your estate agent or broker makes a suggestion, find out why.
More useful info on this subject on the Homeowners Alliance website – https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/finding-the-right-solicitor-or-conveyancer/
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