Stephen Hayter Blog

Monday 10th October 2011

Same day exchanges causing nightmare move days? That was one of the stories that EAT carried last week. But try being the conveyancer!

Same day exchange and completions, uncertainty of exact completion date until the last minute and busy Friday completions can all cause problems, as the story said. But these are problems that conveyancers get as frustrated about every bit as much as removal companies and most others in the home moving process.

Unfortunately, placing the blame squarely at the feet of conveyancers is overly simplistic.

In a perfect world, where one person bought a house from another and that was the end of it, conveyancers and removal companies would indeed be able to eradicate most of the stress from the moving process.

Unfortunately, in the real world, one person’s purchase will often be just one transaction in the middle of a chain of transactions, the length of which will play a big part in the timescales for moving day.

Even if four out of five people in a chain are ready to exchange, the fact remains that if the fifth isn’t, then things are going to be held up. There’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Many movers also insist on a Friday completion, as they then have the weekend to unpack and begin to settle into their new home. This is a sensible request, and if that’s what clients want, then that’s what we try to get for them.

Similarly, completions tend to pile up towards the end of the month as that is understandably when the estate agents start pushing hardest towards their monthly targets.

Because of this, it’s only reasonable for Fridays to be busy days, and end-of-month Fridays to be worse. But conveyancers have had to adapt to this, doing so without complaint because it is often what their client wants.

Imagine what it is like when a Friday is the end of week, a month and a quarter, and then add in things such as bank holidays and school half-term breaks.

Yes, we’d rather have an even spread of business all the way through the month, and yes, the reality creates difficulties. But one thing we’re certain of is that we’d much rather have the work than not.

As for communication issues between conveyancers and their clients, we agree that more could be done. At myhomemove, we believe we’re leading the way in innovative technology that enhances the way people move home, and constant communication with our clients plays a big part in that.

Unfortunately, there are many conveyancing firms resistant to change – indeed, we know of some conveyancing firms which refuse to even use email to contact clients, instead relying on the more traditional ‘snail mail’.

We also know of some lawyers who charge an extra, sometimes large, fee for simultaneous exchange and completion. We don’t.

 

Modern culture is impatient, however.

Most conveyancers will advise their clients to hold off on booking a removal firm until after exchange and the completion date is set in stone. Because of the aforementioned complications, this may well be considered short notice for a removal firm.

But imagine if a conveyancer told a client that they’d be ready to move in exactly four weeks, but then something went wrong further down the chain and this had to be revised?

Not only would the client be furious at their conveyancer, it would also create hassle having to rearrange the removal company. Conveyancers would be slated for never meeting their deadlines. Can anyone blame conveyancers for playing it safe?

The stark reality is that we’re now living in the 21stcentury: times have changed and so has the way people move home. Yes, things may have been a bit easier 25 years ago, but fondly wishing for a return to those days achieves nothing.

Conveyancers, by and large, have adapted their services to meet the needs of clients and that is perhaps the most important point. We give clients what they want. Removal firms may have to look for innovative solutions in the same way as we have.

(2) Comments

Added by Country Lass on 2011-10-13 14:03:18

I had one client who told me the solicitor they were planning to use, and I nearly begged them not to. This particular solicitor is many, many things, arrogant, useless, decrepit and a waste of perfectly good oxygen spring to mind.

Fortunately they changed their mind to the one I recommened.
Added by wardy on 2011-10-13 10:05:23

Whenever conveyancing is mentioned on this site you can expect a barrage of comments against conveyancing firms and rightly so. Out of the hundreds we have dealt with I could put my neck on the line and recommend about two of them. I’m also yet to meet a solicitor who can explain to me exactly what takes on average 9 weeks to do.
It’s funny, in times of lower transactions the very same firms who have refused to talk to us during the conveyancing in the past are now visiting the office and begging for referrals. We take great pleasure in promptly booting them out. An update on a case, once a week to chase a sale is not an unreasonable. It is the EA's lively hood they are chasing after all.
Communication between EA's and solicitors is more important than ever now and firms that realise this, I’m sure will take the lion’s share of the referrals. For us we don’t need a referral fee or even the odd lunch out. What we need is updates, communication and to know the fee that we have fought so hard to earn is in safe hands.

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