Estate Agents and Conveyancers

The recent Secret Agent article, Money for old rope, “Conveyancers are doing less for their money-they don’t share the pressure to close deals as they’ll get paid regardless” filled me with dismay. I started working alongside a conveyancer in a solicitor’s office at the tender age of sixteen in 1974. Relationships with estate agents were not great then, they seem a lot worse now. Thirty seven years on and it would appear that, on the whole, neither party understand or appreciate the other anymore at all.
The truth of the situation is, the above quote should read, “Conveyancers are doing more for less money-they are under more pressure than estate agents.”
Most conveyancers quote fixed fees and the hundreds I speak to regularly, tell me they really want to exchange and complete asap. The fact is, that the legal side of the conveyancing process, the bureaucracy, the red tape, unrealistically high referral fees and numerous onerous regulations put hurdle after hurdle in their way.
I recently attended a Law Society conference and talks were given about, the Localism Bill, the Bribery Act and new changes to the ownership and maintenance of sewers and drains. All of these factors will give conveyancers more to think about and more reasons to raise additional enquiries and, as a result delay some matters. Why do they do that? Four reasons, firstly to make sure their client buys a home they can live in without any nasty surprises cropping up, secondly, to make sure their clients have a home they can sell easily, thirdly to ensure are not, sued for negligence, and fourthly to make sure they are not fined or suspended by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
My point is, most estate agents don’t understand the conveyancers role and responsibility and most conveyancers don’t understand and appreciate the difficulties that estate agents face.
The Law Society has recently introduced the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). Without going into detail, solicitors who become accredited (about 700 firms so far), should follow an agreed protocol, resulting in: the use of standard contracts, standard enquiries, better communication with clients and estate agents and a less adversarial approach generally. It remains to be seen whether CQS will work but it is a step in the right direction. Ask your local solicitors practice if they are a CQS firm.
Hips didn’t catch on (but information up front is helpful), CQS might. Isn’t it about time that the main players, involved in the home buying and selling process, got together and thrashed out:
How they can work together more harmoniously
How the home buying and selling process really can be improved
If anyone involved in the buying and selling of property has any ideas as to how things could and should move forward, please let me know. I would be only too pleased to be the middleman to try to help bring those ideas together.
Rob Hailstone 07817 630714
The Bold Group
Today's Conveyancer