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The Conveyancing Association: Celebrating National Conveyancing Week

I’m writing this slap bang in the middle of the inaugural National Conveyancing Week and I can’t think of a better time to be holding this series of events which make up the week, and to be highlighting conveyancing and its role within the whole property buying/selling process.

Indeed, as I write, conveyancing firms up and down the country are opening their doors to, what I hope is, a large number of interested stakeholders to forge and build relationships, and to show exactly what goes on in the process and why it works the way it does.

First up, I think it’s right and proper to point out that it is by no means “perfect”. I presented at this week’s Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) Upfront Information Roadshow event and any process which currently takes 22 weeks to complete on average and results in a 34% fall-through rate is clearly not working as it could.

However, this is why we are working to speed this up and why we believe that progress on a large number of areas, notably delivery of Upfront Information, digital ID, property logbooks, technological integration, etc, will help in this regard and why we continue to campaign in these areas, and work with a huge range of like-minded stakeholders who want the same.

But, it’s also clear that conveyancing is – most likely – the least well known of all the parts of the process, and is the least understood, resulting in a large degree of stress and often frustration, when other professions don’t fully comprehend why, for example, we need the information we do, or why any transaction within a chain can only work at the pace of the slowest.

In a week in which research from Groundsure suggested 6% of mortgage advisers don’t believe conveyancing is a “…vital part of the property transaction process” then you might think that National Conveyancing Week has come at just right the time.

How this 6% think a property transaction will be completed without a conveyancer if it’s not “vital” is perhaps a question for all of us to ponder. After all, no adviser is getting paid for their mortgage advice work until completion is achieved, whether purchase or remortgage.

So, there is clearly therefore a continuing need to keep conveyancing in the property spotlight, and National Conveyancing Week is, in our view, a very positive way to do this, particularly when it comes to growing the industry/consumer understanding of who we are and what we do.

To press home this ongoing need for a continued consumer focus, I saw some recent research from who revealed the top-five most searched-for remortgage legal topics amongst its consumer users.

Top of the tree was “Conveyancing solicitors” with 26,400 yearly searches and, in a related area, the second most searched for topic was “Remortgaging process length” showing that many consumers are unaware of who they should be using and what they might expect in terms of process and completion times when they do instruct.

It seems imperative therefore that we, as a profession, continue to champion what we do, our role within the property market, and let’s be frank, some of the obstacles and hindrances we are attempting to overcome with the current process, and how that doesn’t always deliver what we would like in terms of outcomes.

It’s my belief that if consumers are more aware of this – and many will be as they go through a property transaction – there will be more support for the changes we are espousing. Plus, of course, we need to highlight the positive impact of conveyancing, the results we can achieve despite what we are faced with, and the amazing work and sacrifices your firms and your employees carry out and make in the course of delivering this service.

I suspect, many of you feel the way I do, in that for too long conveyancing has been seen as something of the poor relation in terms of the property market. Undervalued, misunderstood, and overlooked in relation to what it really delivers.

It’s my hope that our own work and what is happening this week across the sector will go some way to addressing this. That National Conveyancing Week will be a yearly event which, in the future, increasingly allows us to share our successes, show the change(s) we have delivered and the positives and benefits it has achieved, and open the eyes of many in our industry and the wider public to the central and key role conveyancers play.

There’s no doubting we are putting ourselves much more on the map, and on the radar, particularly in Government and policy circles, and if we can also take the public with us and importantly, their representatives, then we have a much better chance of achieving what is required, improving our own working lives, and delivering successful outcomes for all.

By the way, if you didn’t get a chance to catch the HBSG Upfront Information event during National Conveyancing Week, you can catch up here:

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