Diary of a high street conveyancer: 11th July 2023

I went to a property conference this week. I always find the sponsors at such events an interesting mix.

What struck me was how many companies were offering services, and it is clearly the case that there are lots of tech companies who believe that they have the magic wand which they can sell to us for us to wave to help people move house quicker.

There were some companies offering the same services, such as electronic verification of clients, checking source of funds, etc. Others were offering searches relating to climate change; two companies offering to write the report on title to the client.

How to choose? If a firm is in the market for any of these services, how could you choose which company would be the best to use? Similar companies offering similar services but in a different way and at different costs. I felt like a client, talking to different solicitors, having to decide which firm to instruct for a house move. How would I know if I had made the right choice, not only for my firm, but perhaps ultimately for the client?

In the efforts to streamline the conveyancing process, you have all of these different companies with similar services but if Firm A uses Company Y and Firm B uses Company X, is it going to make it easier for their respective clients?

As regards the report on title – I am old fashioned. I do like to write the report myself, tailoring it to the clients’ needs. Not all clients are the same and some do need more hand holding than others and some need things explaining to them in a different way.

We are all too aware of the clients who clearly do not read the report on title (“sorry, which boundary do I own? Just tell me – I can’t be bothered to read all that information”), but it still pays to try and provide that personal service and clear report which they understand and perhaps which helps them to understand the process.

I can see how much tech has helped us so far in conveyancing, but clients do still need the expert advice and reassurance and guidance from an experienced conveyancer – not just tech with the sole purpose of speeding up a transaction. Just my thoughts – anyone agree?

One Response

  1. Tech clearly has its place but the benefits and possibilities are, in my view, overstated. Legal thinking is the most important part of conveyancing. The idea that a case management program can do the job of conveyancing is disproved on a daily basis.

    The issues of “delay” won’t be cured until the property transaction process is reformed so that as much of the process is completed before the property is marketed. Too many of the tech solutions are designed to make the current, dysfunctional system work better.
    The real obstacle to progress is the reliance of too many estate agents on referral fees especially where they are directed a buyer to a conveyancer which piles them high and quotes cheap and adds fees as the transaction progresses. How is this in the interests of the seller?

    The more upfront information, the more strictly regulated estate agents are, the creation of one conveyancing regulator and the enforcement of standards and the eradication of standard additional enquiries along with less reliance on software and the acknowledgment of the worth of legal thinking the better the process will be.

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join nearly 5,000 other practitioners – sign up to our free newsletter

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.