Conveyancing – to stir things up


I can’t help but wonder why the process of conveyancing takes so long; it’s not just my observation, but a sentiment shared by many. Despite advancements in technology and the digitalisation of various aspects, such as searches, land registry, and conveyancing portals, which now return results in hours instead of weeks, there still seems to be a bottleneck somewhere in the process.

The reliance on traditional “solicitors” to oversee and sign off on everything could be a significant factor in this prolonged timeline. Each solicitor operates differently and has their own perspectives, which can lead to disparities and inefficiencies. Introducing disruptive innovations to this industry is a great idea until you encounter an old-school firm that insists on doing things the conventional way. Unfortunately, this was the unpleasant experience we had with a firm that exhibited unprofessional behavior towards their client.

Fortunately, our solicitor and the vendor’s solicitor were efficient and ready for contract exchange within seven weeks. However, the purchaser’s solicitor caused unnecessary delays, claiming everything was under control when, in reality, they had done nothing for the first 12 weeks. They finally started asking questions and raising issues, leaving us frustrated and concerned.

It was distressing to see how their incompetence affected their client. The purchaser’s mortgage offer expired due to the delay caused by their solicitor. As a result, they had to renew their mortgage at a much higher interest rate, which they could not afford, leading them to pull out of the sale just one week before completion. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no accountability for their solicitor’s actions, leaving the client without recourse.

From my perspective, a key issue in the conveyancing process is the absence of a single “coordinator” who can oversee and facilitate communication between all parties involved, including clients and solicitors. Additionally, if a target moving date were agreed upon during the offer stage, such as aiming to complete the process within three months, it could provide a common goal for everyone to work towards. The lack of checks, measures, and consequences for delays only adds to the stress and anxiety associated with the whole process.

Despite these challenges, we have managed to move and are settling into our new home. It is my hope that the conveyancing industry can learn from these experiences and implement improvements to make the process smoother and less stressful for all involved.

Also, putting in place some sort of financial commitment to protect against anyone pulling out of the sale/purchase for no good reason similar to Scotland would also be welcome.


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