Diary of a high street conveyancer; 4th July 2022

There are times when conveyancing solicitors have to sit quietly and not say a word. It doesn’t happen very often but I wonder if others will recognise the scenario …

Sitting at a sporting event watching youngest child. Two couples sitting behind me. One couple is in the process of moving house (you already know where this is going, don’t you!).

I established quite early in their conversation that I was not acting for them. You never know! The reason I knew this is that the husband had filled in the Fittings and Contents Form , they had both signed it but the wife did not check it. They did not have a copy – and that is how I knew I was not acting for them as I automatically send a copy to all clients once I receive it back completed with a letter advising them to keep it under review and to let me know if anything changes as it will be attached to the contract. There was a discussion about how could they get a copy of the form. I really wanted to turn around and say just phone your solicitor and ask them to send you a copy. It was decided that this was what they were going to do, without me having to intervene. But then one of the men said he didn’t think that would be a good idea as knowing solicitors, they would be charged an extortionate amount for asking and then the form being sent. Again, I wanted to turn around and ask  whether they were paying a fixed fee and if they were, then it was fine they would not have to pay.

They decided that they would ask the agent to get a copy for them.

They were then chatting about how far in the process they were. They had a date for exchange in two weeks with completion set for the end of the month so had booked their removals. Again, I wanted to turn around – no definite completion date as they had not exchanged – please don’t book your removals just in the hope.

And then … this is all dependent on their mortgage offer being issued and they had driven past the house on Saturday morning and seen that there was some building works started along the road outside the house, and when they asked the builder as the sellers weren’t in, they were told that there was likely subsidence. At this point, I  really wanted to turn around and say “please talk to your solicitor about this”.

As I watched the sporting event, I thought about how they were going through the process of moving house and how this was all unknown territory to them. But there were so many things that they needed guidance on and it is important that we always remember that what we do, day in and day out, and is a matter of routine and all in a day’s work is like learning a foreign language to the clients and there is no one size fits all guide to moving house. It is like driving somewhere and not knowing if there is going to be a road diversion which means that the journey will take longer … but also not having a sat nav to tell you if you are still going in the right direction.

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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