Diary of a High Street Conveyancer; 6th September 2021

So the start of September… and it is all so reminiscent of the start of June. Suddenly, there is an air of panic, will people be able to move before the end of September in order to save stamp duty, even though it is not as much as they would have saved in June?

To some people, even saving £2,500.00 makes the difference as to whether or not they will  be able to move, and even though we have been telling clients for some time that there are delays in the system beyond our control , they still think that we can work miracles.

Such as the prospective client on Friday who told me that he would only instruct me if I could guarantee he  would move by the end of September. I declined the instruction…

And it got me thinking. Having been through this in June what lessons have we learnt and what could we do differently this time?

Outlets continue report rising prices while the influential think tank the Resolution Foundation suggested that the SDLT holiday was not the sole reason for the property boom, and there is a dearth of properties on the market.  It is a sellers market. Which means that it is an estate agents’ dream market… get the sales through and it will be like Christmas  again at the end of September. Three Christmases in one year as we still have the real Christmas to come!

So… here are my thoughts on what we might do differently this time round…

  • Estate agents would like the sale completed so if there is a crash, in whatever way it comes, they have made their money already. Remember that the agents will make out that your client or the other party wants the sale completed in order to save money. This may not be the case so check with your client as to whether they really do need to complete in September.
  • Use the agents to give you full chain details; who else is in the chain? Who needs  a mortgage offer? Which solicitors and agents are in the chain? Sometimes it is easier when we discover that the firm acting for the first time buyer, two below us in the chain, is in fact a friendly firm down the road. We can then go to them direct for an update
  • Manage the client’s expectations. Make sure that they are told what is happening in the chain and what could lead to delays.  Even today, I have received an email from a client, telling me that the agents have told him that he is moving on the 17th September. I have had to tell him that I do not think that is going to be possible as I am still waiting for information about the lease extension
  • Fight your corner… conveyancers seem to have become the harbinger of doom when in so many cases we simply are the messengers. Lender requirements, chain delays, local searches… all out of our control but we so often bear the brunt of frustrations.

I have a separate list of what I think us conveyancers can do to help each other which I will write up in my column next week, but if you have any, why not let me know in the comments below…


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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