Estate Agents and Conveyancers – Principles of Working Together

Yesterday I suggested that maybe agents and conveyancers should try to put together a document outlining the Principles of Working Together. However, I was reminded that I need look no further than the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) Protocol – where “there is reference to who does what and there are things that the agents are stated to do.”

At the request of Kristina Thirkettle of estate agents Gilson Bailey I sent her a link to the Protocol. Kristina said it was

“very interesting and would be a useful tool for those involved in sales progression. This document takes you on a step-by-step path through the process which I think would be helpful for many.”

I will let you decide yourself if the Protocol helps. Here is a link to it:

https://no-flies.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/cqs-protocol.pdf

I would mention that The Law Society states that; Use of this Protocol is considered preferred practice.

One of the general obligations are to:

Share information with others to assist in the efficient management of each transaction or chain of transactions. Requirements to provide and share information in each stage of the Protocol are subject to client confidentiality obligations. If the buyer/seller consents to the disclosure of information about the transaction, other transactions in the chain or any change in circumstances, this information should be disclosed. The buyer/seller should not be encouraged to withhold authority to disclose information unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Set out below are few of the sections that refer directly to estate agents;

  • Other participants in the process, for example, estate agents, brokers and lenders, have important roles to play. Estate agents may have an understanding of associated transactions and may be able to assist in settling a realistic timetable. A framework for communication with others who may be able to contribute to the process should be considered and addressed in each case at the outset.
  • If there is likely to be any delay in submitting a contract bundle, inform the seller, the buyer’s solicitor and the estate agents.
  • Inform the estate agent and the seller when the contract bundle has been submitted to the buyer’s solicitor.
  • Inform the seller and the estate agent of any difficulties likely to delay the exchange of contracts.
  • Request the client or estate agent to negotiate the completion date if required.
  • Notify all relevant parties (seller, agent, chain) that exchange has taken place immediately after exchange of contracts.
  • Obtain the seller’s instructions to pay the estate agent’s fees from the sale proceeds.
  • Notify the estate agent and/or any other key holder that completion has taken place and authorise immediate release of the keys.
  • Pay the estate agent’s or property seller’s commission if so authorised.

My question now is, do we need a document outlining the Principles of Working Together, or does the Protocol tick all the right boxes?

2 Comments

  • test

    This is, of course, fine and there are agents who do a proper job. However, there are others who have no knowledge of the legal process or why it’s necessary , no interest in doing a professional job and have no scruples. Many are not even good sales people. They lie, they pressure and do not manage anything, let alone clients’ expectations. The legal profession is no help, frequently complaining about the vast fees agents charge against the legal fee and carry no responsibility. Until there is a requirement for all agents and lawyers to be educated in the process and for everyone to work together, nothing will change.

  • test

    A similar concept has been in place in Northern Ireland since 2018. The Memorandum of Understanding between RICS, NAEA and the Law Society of Northern Ireland clearly states how solicitors and agents should be working together for the benefit of the vendors and purchasers; in particular, the agent is actively to encourage that the vendor instructs their solicitor when the property goes on the market, and not wait until it is sale agreed. Likewise, solicitors are expected to take certain actions at an early stage to expedite the conveyancing process.

    Although some areas of NI have seen some adoption of the Memorandum, my own experience is that take up has been very patchy, and the majority of agents I’ve spoken to have either never heard of it, or deny all knowledge of it. (For the purpose of transparency, I also note that a surprising number of conveyancing solicitors appear to be unaware of the Memorandum as well).

    I believe that proper engagement with the Memorandum will be poor until consumers learn about it and demand their advisers to use it.

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