How will outsourcing Post-Completion benefit your firm?

Though consumers may feel as though the conveyancing transaction process finishes as soon as they set foot in their new home, conveyancers will know that this is not quite the case.

Before the file can be closed and archived, post-completion matters must be dealt with, requiring a Land Transaction Return for the property to be completed and delivered to HM Revenue & Customs within 30 days of completion.

Similarly, making an application to amend the Title at HM Land Registry (HMLR) to reflect the client’s transaction within a priority period of 30 days, must be adhered to accurately.

As you will know, whilst this process might seem straightforward, that does not mean it will necessarily be done straight after completion. Unlike the stage prior to completion, there is no rush to collate the submission documents for HMLR.  So long as the application is submitted within 30 days of completion, some conveyancers may think this is satisfactory; when they are faced with growing caseloads and anxious clients, exchange will always be the priority.

As a consequence post-completion formalities are left on the back burner, with the risk of missing the 30 days priority period, leading to litigious claims and an increase in the firm’s professional indemnity insurance premiums. Thus, the performance of many professionals can be compromised, with competing pressures leading to mistakes being made, a consequence which is neither in the interests of the firm, client or the lender client, with the increased risk of being removed off the lender panel.

The result of this pressure can in part be seen in the proportion of avoidable requisitions which HMLR receive. Of the 5,500 requisitions raised by HMLR each day,  44.22% are avoidable. These requisitions might feel like a minor irritation now but with HMLR being pressured to release this data by the Competitions and Markets Authority Legal Services Market Study, these same issues could significantly impact the future business of a conveyancing firm.

As well as being something that can seem somewhat like a chore, statistics such as these indicate the real impact they can have for firms, leading to further delays for clients and a reduced standard of service.

Delays in the process have been cited by clients as one of the most prominent issues in conveyancing, as was highlighted in the Legal Ombudsman report for 2016/17. Along with family law and wills and probate, it continues to be one of the most complained about areas of law.

Reports such as these are prompting firms to consider their own internal processes, and more often than not, acknowledge that there may be a problem. This is the first of the practical steps that will need to be taken if the firm is to improve, relieving the pressure of balancing multiple workstreams and in turn, reducing delays.

One of the business choices which has started to become more widely utilised in conveyancing is outsourcing, particularly in terms of post-completion. This allows teams who were previously tasked with post-completion to be redistributed across the business so that their resource can be used more efficiently, such as re-deploying those post-completion staff members into the pre-exchange teams so that there is more staff in those teams to attend to client queries, which reduces the complaints: allows firms to prioritise exchanges and produces more completions for the firm-ultimately the main source of revenue.  This is a more efficient and productive business model with the knowledge and peace of mind that their clients will be registered at HMLR on a timely basis without compromising the service to their clients and lender clients as they have outsourced the post-completion formalities to an experienced and dedicated team.

The importance of post-completion goes unnoticed yet it is the most important side of the conveyancing transaction as this is where the firm is highly exposed to risk.

In light of transparency proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority, the Government’s Housing White Paper: ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ and the recent proposal from the Land Registry to publish error data of top conveyancers has further emphasised the need for conveyancing firms to be a lot more vigilant in the quality and speed of submitting their application to HMLR. As a result, it is likely that post-completion outsourcing services will be in greater demand and will become an even more integral element of a business’ success, particularly if it aims to become a real contender in the already competitive conveyancing market.

For more information please contact Property Conveyancing Consultancy – psinder@pcconsultancy.co.uk – 07984 290 634

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