Diary of a High Street Conveyancer: 14th May 2024

I went to visit a friend over the weekend.  He is selling his mother’s house. I arranged for him to sign the documents and it was a good opportunity to catch up. And I knew he would ask me the question which I could not answer and tried to steer the conversation away from it.   

The  house he is selling has a nice freehold title.  The buyer did not need a mortgage and was a good buyer.

So the question: Why does it take so long?

Answers on a postcard please…. or however we now answer such questions…..

It is a tricky question to answer. But one thing was clear  to him – it took far longer than it should have done, and I could not think of a reason why. Was it the searches that the buyer’s solicitor  did?   Is it a  lack of experienced staff doing conveyancing ?  was the fact that the buyer was a cash buyer a contributing factor in that the buyer’s solicitor  had to establish source of funds, etc?

In the end, I had to say that it was just the way things are at the moment.

Why is it so slow at the moment?

2 Responses

  1. Putting it simply, it does take too long, and time is extended each time a new joy rider comes onto the scene with their shiny solution for handling a bit more of the data.

    Add to that the desultory support given by the Law Society to the membership and efforts to retain professionalism within conveyancing, there is now an inadequate number of qualified conveyancers. This alone compounds the number of queries raised unnecessarily, adding to the stack of items needing processing. time + time

    Panels themselves create funnels. Data software cannot handle the vast number of unnecessary queries. All we need to do is look at the Land Registry as a model. Over time, they drastically reduced the number of offices and then part digitised systems that were not fully integrated. The number of queries that cannot be handled by software just adds to the stack. I am not up to date; however, some six months ago, they were two years and two million queries behind.

    As to searches, they are like a small pond compared to a vast ocean

  2. It takes so long because each conveyancer is handling multiple matters at any one time. In my case about 20 – 30, not counting the speculative enquiries work and all the post completion work which thanks to the Land Registry can drag on for years. It is safe to assume that the fee earner on the other side has the same workload and suddenly each client is among 100 other cases and they are surprised it takes three days to respond to an email. If you want to be treated like you are my only client your conveyancing fee will be £20,000 + VAT. Or would you rather wait a few days for a response?

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