Diary of a high street conveyancer: 14th August 2023

So, additional enquiries are still irritating, annoying, and frustrating us! I know that there are some which we have to ask because they arise out of the contract documents, but it is those standard ones – you know, the ones where we know they are just being asked to tick a box.

I am not sure if those conveyancers who ask those questions (filed plan, Dreamvar, etc) read this, but if you do, I want you to think about what I am going to write.

I had a matter this week where there was no need for me to raise any queries; nice title, no irregularities, house where consents for all works done were disclosed with the contract documents.

I wrote a friendly letter to the sellers’ solicitor, thanking them for providing a good contract pack and advising them that I had no queries on the contract documents and that I would let them know if there was anything in the searches or the survey which required further investigation.

So, I am not sure why this got out of hand. The contract package was well-prepared and all documents were included, hence my thanks to them. No doubt they were pleased that they did not have to answer unnecessary enquiries.

Not so the agents, who told my clients that they were concerned to hear that I had no enquiries. Excuse me! The agents thought I should be raising enquiries – and told my clients that.

Bearing in mind that on my clients’ sal, we had the age old unnecessary enquiries, the client asked me why I was not raising enquiries. The client was told by the agent that I should be asking whether the seller’s solicitor had checked the identity of the sellers and whether the filed plan was accurate, etc.

This became somewhat tricky as I was put in the position where I had to justify my decision not to ask anything because nothing was needed, and having to explain to my client why nothing was needed. It all felt a little bizarre.

The seller’s solicitor had done a very good job with the contract documents so notwithstanding that questions re Dreamvar should never be asked, it was a prime transaction for a quick turnaround.

This begs the question: do agents want a fast turnaround? Do they want firms who don’t want to ask unnecessary enquiries? Instead of giving me and the seller’s solicitor a pat on the back for a job well done, I was put in the position where I had to provide explanations as to why I did not ask unnecessary questions – and let’s face it, if some lawyers don’t understand why those questions should not be asked, I was never going to get a client to understand.

Is this the fault of the agents? Not necessarily – I believe it is partly to do with the culture of asking unnecessary enquiries and how that has now become the norm and that is what agents are led to believe should happen.

Get me and the seller’s solicitor on future transactions and we will show you that this is not what should happen and the turnaround times of transactions will improve considerably.

3 Responses

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Nothing makes my heart sink more that receiving loads of Enquiries, most of which I can say with confidence are just standard ones churned out like a sausage machine.
    Come on Agents, let us do our jobs and keep out of what you don’t know anything about. Encourage the clients to speak with us rather than give information which you don’t have the training to do.
    We don’t deliberately delay matters. Why would we? Just like everyone we want to do a good job in a reasonable amount of time and get our pennies in the coffers.
    Instead of giving out false information and pretending that you know the law – hand that side of it back to us PLEASE !

  2. Agents – keep your noses out if things you don’t understand and don’t concern you. Here endeth the lesson

  3. Perhaps we should start giving opinions to clients as to how much agents charge, how much they are marketing the property for and how well they are chain checking matters.

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