I have recently had a twitter conversation with an estate agent who clearly feels that conveyancers are deliberately slow and ineffective in the way that they work. He held the clear belief that conveyancers should be paid on speed of result and this would bring about better results.
We thought you might be interested in the way the conversation developed because it goes to the core of how what we do is perceived and valued.
After the usual “banter” between estate agents and conveyancers as to who does the most work and who deserves the bigger fee when it comes to property transactions the particular estate agent on twitter posed a question as to whether property solicitors should be paid on performance as well as time?
I replied, pointing out that conveyancers are already bottom of the pile when it comes to fees. Conveyancers fees can be up to 85 per cent lower than the fees charged by estate agents*.
When estate agents say that conveyancers are slow it usually translates into “we are unable to make the conveyancer do what we want them to do”. Worryingly one of the replies sent by another tweeter was:
“No offence but when I effect a sale, I then affect a sale. Solicitors can be fully controlled, if you know what you’re doing.”
The original poster’s response to this was to say that whilst there were plenty of good conveyancing solicitors, far too many are not able to be controlled.
It would be interesting to know what the “controlling” methods are.
I understand that an agent has to market the property and that this costs money, I am also aware that not every property will generate fees for the agent. This particular agent indicated that thousands are spent on bringing in high quality buyers and that this justified the large fees charged.
If this is the case then one could argue that conveyancers can justify larger fees when factoring in PII, regulatory body subscriptions and the cost of hiring qualified staff? Of course conveyancers are also more at risk if anything does happen to go wrong with the transaction.
Conveyancers have been the scapegoat for many an unhappy estate agent since the dawn of time and in all honesty this is unlikely to change.
How is it that an educated profession such as conveyancing has been so unable to communicate effectively to estate agents as to what our role is and why it is so much more than speed and how estate agents manage us.
What do you think — would you prefer your firm was assessed on performance rather than charging a fixed fee for conveyancing?
Today’s Conveyancer, bringing you the latest conveyancing news and updates.
*based on sale price of £200,000.00 with a rate of 1.5% being charged by the estate agent.