Diary of a High Street Conveyancer; 25th June 2021

“I know you’re busy but…” I think that was one of the opening lines I heard the most over the last few weeks, along with “I do need to move by the end of June, because of the stamp duty.”

The SDLT holiday has brought out the worse in some and the best in some. Conveyancers have rallied together and tried really hard to get matters completed for the benefit of their clients, but at what cost? Many will leave the profession; many will suffer with their mental health; many have seen the injustice of handing people money to move house whilst not wanting to give children free school meals.

Some will say look at the benefit to firms – the increase in revenue; but that is meaningless if you have staff who do not want to work anymore, massive increases in PI cover, and a potential drop in work over the next few months.

We are now in the last few days, and this may now be the time when the cracks in other parts of the system start to show.

I heard that the Lender Exchange system went down today. I have not been onto Lender Exchange today so was not aware of this until I saw it mentioned on social media.

Hold times at some  lenders were in excess of an hour, and there is one lender where the  change in music from canned music to Sade is a subtle reminder as to how long you have been holding for! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been on hold with the lender, made a call on another phone, made a cup of coffee, walked around the office, and still find I am on hold. The most annoying ones are where we hold for days (or so it seems) and then someone picks up and they either disconnect us, or we miss them as we have gone to the supermarket to do the weekly shop.

My biggest fear in the days to come is how will the banks cope. I cannot remember my firm having such a large balance in the client account. The amount of money which will pass through the banking system over the next few days is going to be mind blowing.

We all know that banks have a tendency to crash, and who knows what will happen, maybe even tomorrow, when the monies start to move between firms. Will the volume overload the system?   Will we find that the true cracks in the system are not the  conveyancers but the lenders and the CHAPS system?

Conveyancers are only as good on completion as the component parts around them, and if the banks find that they cannot cope with the volume, then we need to be  prepared to help people move, because there is no way in the next few days that a removal company is going to  hold someone’s belongings on a wagon overnight for delivery the next day, when they have another job booked in.

So, when clients have said “I know how busy you are” they have had no idea of the things we do, on a daily basis, to enable them to move. Or how we hold it all together for them, with the other pieces of the jigsaw puzzle hopefully falling into place. To be honest, they have had no idea how busy we have been and the pressure we have been under. I have only seen my family at mealtimes for weeks, chained to my desk, making sure that everyone moves.

So, to all conveyancers reading this… I DO know how busy you are  – so thank you for reading, thank you for your support and willingness to help, and thank you for your professionalism in this difficult time.


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

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