The Most Stressful Time

The Most Stressful Time

It really is very simple. I find a buyer for my house, find somewhere to live and simply sell my current place. I mean the people buying will take about the same amount of time I will right?

Let me remind you of something. Moving home is one of the most stressful experiences one can go through. Yet I have been reminded recently that this is a message that we sometimes seem to forget. I have a colleague who has recently moved into her new home. Due to panel considerations she opted not to do the purchase work herself but used a solicitor who could act for the lender instead. She felt confident that her buyer was not part of a chain and she took the risk of buying from a mortgagee. Despite many years of experience let me assure you that the whole transaction took an immense toll. From initially falling in love with her new home the price of the property went up 3 times and on no less than 2 occasions the lender set ridiculous deadlines and insisted they would pull out of the transaction if she didn’t meet them. Suffice to say that my colleague was very, very distracted during this whole process. Any plans she made were always subject to careful scrutiny as to how they fitted in with the house move and every other conversation with her husband after work focused on the house. From beginning to end the whole process took about 9 weeks, let me assure you that it more like 9 months and I wasn’t the one moving.

On the other hand, 9 weeks isn’t generally considered a very long time. There were no real problems on the sale and when one is buying from a mortgagee you should be aware that you will be swimming with sharks who will pull the sale on a whim or set unrealistic deadlines. This emphasises the disparity between the views of our clients and those of the professionals. To be honest, perhaps if we got as caught up in this as our clients our shelf life in this job would be very short indeed. Nevertheless we should show more empathy. Whilst this is our job it matters a great deal more to those we represent and every so often it’s good to be reminded of that. My colleague’s low point came when the estate agent telephoned half way through to tell her the lender was pulling out and going with a higher offer. My colleague has made many similar telephone calls to clients but that was the first time she was on the receiving end and I suspect that her experiences will impact on how she addresses such calls in the future.

Whilst we don’t work with matrimonial separations, suspected criminals or people losing their livelihood we should not forget that we make an important contribution to people’s dreams and aspirations. Whilst to us 3 -4 days is not a long time, to our clients this can seem like an eternity and it should not be too much for them to ask that we recognise this. So next time your client complains that they haven’t had an update in 4 days, please be gentle.

Jon Pearson-Basudev, WTB Solicitors LLP

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