Diary of a high street conveyancer; 31st January 2022

I have read a lot this week on LinkedIn about the relationship between estate agents and solicitors. I am not sure if any agents read this but if you know any agents who would be interested in what I am going to say, please feel free to share with them!

There have been a lot of posts about  improving the relationship between solicitor and estate agent. This is something I would be very keen to promote but there are some basic points that we need to consider

  • Estate agents act for the sellers – it is important to make sure that the buyer understands this and that the agent wants the deal to go through and it often seems as if the agent “swops” sides during the transaction. But ultimately, the agent acts for the seller.
  • Referral fees – there has been a lot of discussion regarding referral fees. If  such fees are paid, then there needs to be full disclosure; with the Simplify cyber attack and subsequent fall out  in transactions, one thing has become clear from the posts I have read and that is that the parties did not know that referral fees were paid for the recommendation of the work.

In order for there to be a better relationship between agents and solicitors, there are three starting points which would be helpful – that is all that I am now going to mention today to see if others wish to comment on it. Firstly, please can estate agents make sure that the names of the sellers and buyers are correct on the Memorandum of Sale; it is quite often the case that the parties’ names are incorrect and with the checks that agents are meant to do, I am not sure how this situation arises.

And secondly, please can the agent check the details of the  other party’s chosen solicitor; again, it is often the case that the name and contact details of the other solicitor is incorrect. I know that details of a firm are probably taken from a database, but I experience this  issue very often. I have been in my offices for over sixteen years, but there is a local agent who still has my firm as at the previous office address. It seems that no  matter how often my firm tells them that the address is incorrect, the database is not updated and now that the office block which used to  house my offices is apartments, it causes my firm unnecessary time and work  in ensuring that the other party’s solicitor has all of the correct details.

Thirdly, and this would be like the best Christmas present I could have at the start of a  transaction  – please give us the full chain details. I know that agents do not necessarily want the solicitor to have a full chain as that means that we can call it out if the parties change, but it really helps us to manage clients’ expectations, and would be more helpful than agents probably realise. Knowing that the third person in a chain is represented by a friendly local firm makes out jobs easier and helps the client to have a less stressful move (hopefully).


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

One Response

  1. I am sure this Diarist lives in my head, it is so accurate. Especially the names issue. Yes, if estate agents are meant to do their checks why do they not know the details. Often we have the girlfriend named as well who is not even an owner.

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