I saw that enquiries were being discussed on forums again this week. I did read one article in which it said that the way to deal with this part of the back log is in technology – I am not sure how but I am not very “techy” so am open to being taught how this would work in practice. But it got me thinking (again) about this part of the process and here is what I think could be done to make it slightly better.
My solution is very simple and will save firms a lot of time…
When a firm answers the queries, don’t recite the number of the question with the following answers:
Please see 3 above
Help me here! Give me some idea as to the question and save me some time by not making me find the original list of questions. That wastes my time and does not look very good to the client when I send them the replies – here you are, Mrs. Smith, these are the replies to the enquiries I sent to your seller’s solicitor.
But how to solve it? The easiest way would be to take the wording from my question and incorporate it into the answer. One firm sends their enquiries by email and asks that the answers are typed alongside the query in a different colour, and then they comment further (in a different colour) if they have anything more to ask, and if they are happy that the enquiry has been answered to their satisfaction, they put a line through the question and the answer. It is a good idea, but the emails end up looking a total mess and there was one question where I thought we were going to run out of colour.
Another firm send their queries in a box, with a second box alongside for the answer. That is fine provided that they are happy with the answer in the box and on those occasions where the answer is not accepted, then a letter is sent.
All I would say is that we should think about how we answer the questions – we are a profession and just answering with the words “confirmed” or “yes” does not always look the most professional. And please check whether the questions should be asked or are the answers already in the Property Information Form?
This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.