Diary of a high street conveyancer: 3rd October 2022

What a week – again!

A week in which we were called on to dig deep and act as Agony Uncles and Aunts to our clients.  Much of this week was not about property law, but a matter of reassuring clients as best we could. Some of the questions I have been asked this week include:

  • Will my mortgage offer be withdrawn?
  • Will my buyer lose their mortgage offer?
  • Will my buyer get a mortgage?
  • Can my buyer afford to buy my house?
  • Will my buyer still want to buy my house?
  • Do you think interest rates will go up?
  • Do you think that the house prices will go down?

I am sure we all had some, if not all of these questions. And the truth is we do not know the answers.

In fact, HM Treasury do not know all the answers, but our clients see us as the ones who can help them and I think that our answers need to take into account the needs of each client and our experiences of past markets.

I am old  enough to remember Black Wednesday when the interest rates went up throughout the course of one day, and I worried about how I was going to pay my mortgage. I remember the 100% mortgages with the 25% unsecured loan made by Northern Rock.

All of these things teach us that markets are continually changing and all we can do is listen to clients, reassure them as best as we can and explain to them that matters are actually out of our control.

We do not know whether the buyer can get a mortgage offer; we do not know if their house will be down-valued; we do not know what will happen in the wider economy; but we have to understand and empathise with a client who is going through a stressful experience, made worse by external influences.

I don’t know what is  going  to happen in the market and I am scared that it will be hard to heat both my home and my office whilst looking at a decline in my work load. I am sure that many firms are worried , not only about heating their offices, but also PI renewal coming off the back of the busiest year for conveyancing (which will lead to an increase in the premium!) as a time when we are facing the prospect of a downturn in the market.

We are worried; our clients are worried… and all we can do is reassure our clients.

But, and if there is ever a lesson to learn from the last 2 years, please remember each other fellow conveyancers. It could get really tough for us so let’s talk to each and try and continue to be understanding and considerate to each other.


This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

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