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Conveyancing just too slow, says agency groupConveyancing lawyers are threatening to derail the housing recovery because they are not recruiting to cope with increased demand from buyers, according to a new umbrella group of agents.

Situ, a property company launched by the leaders of five major agencies in the West Midlands, claims many conveyancing departments are under-staffed, causing a delay in agreeing completions and heaping frustration upon buyers and sellers.

Vendors expect to move home quickly once they have agreed terms but it's generally taking 12 to 16 weeks because of the lawyer time-lag. I expect it's a staffing and cultural problem says Philip Jackson, a member of Situ and director of Maguire Jackson.

Many solicitors until very recently haven't acknowledged the sharp rise in residential sales and have been caught out with too much work and not enough time he claims.

Situ consists of Maguire Jackson, Hunters, Knight & Rennie, Payne Associates and Oulsnam. The grouping says Land Registry data confirms the scale of the problem.

It reveals that between August 2013 to November 2013 sales volumes averaged 75,114 transactions per month across England and Wales - a 25 per cent annual increase from the same period a year earlier when volumes averaged 60,272 per month. Land Registry figures also predict this will rise to 80,000 transactions per month during 2014.

Solicitors and estate agents have seen a sharp rise in instructions. As estate agents, we are building our teams but the lawyers aren't following suit. They need to pick up the pace or will become labelled as the brakes of the housing market says Andrew Oulsnam of Oulsnam, one of Situ's members.


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    • 11 August 2014 12:47 PM
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    • 02 August 2014 10:47 AM
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    Whilst it is inappropriate to comment on individual cases, sometimes invariably, there are unforeseen complicating factors which make certain transactions take longer than others. At Bower & Bailey Solicitors we have seen an increase in demand for our property services in Swindon and its environs of late. Indeed, we have acted promptly to ensure that we are able to meet our clients demands and we have recruited accordingly.

    • 26 March 2014 16:04 PM
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    The conveyancing on my mothers house took over six months for a straight forward no chain and no problem sale. Our buyer's mortgage offer came through after two months but it still took a further four months. Even then the tow parts of the contracts had different prices on. It was as straight forward as it could be but they did not have a clue. If they had too much work I wish they would have said because we could have easily have found someone else.

    • 21 March 2014 16:49 PM
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    Lots of conveyancers left the profession when the market died and have moved on to other things. They do not want to return to a working environment that many feel is, stressful, low paid, high risk and consists of long hours.

    The real problem is that the potential employees for law firms are not out there to employ. Very few young people would pursue a career as a residential property conveyancer. Unless action is taken this situation will go from bad to worse.

    • 21 March 2014 16:10 PM
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    Not all agents expect referral fees. We for one have never accepted a referral fee. How can you accept a fee for what we all know is likely to be a very slow painful service We currently have a case where it took the conveyancer 2 MONTHS to even open the file. I'm wholly surprised the deal is still together...for now.

    • 21 March 2014 09:59 AM
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    What rot. Solicitors have failed to acknowledge the need for good working relationships with estate agents in a spectacularly arrogant fashion for as long as I can remember. Saying the crisis is due to the lawyers being 'criticised' is like comparing them to the boy at school taking his ball back because he cant play in goal. Agents may be at fault for a lot of things but the shoddy approach to the task at hand by SOME solicitors is not one of them.

    • 21 March 2014 09:21 AM
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    After over 45 years of fighting the legal system of property transfer I can't help but smile, nice to know that nothing has changed in all of that time - quite comforting really.

    • 21 March 2014 08:49 AM
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    Why don't they do their own conveyancing then Why not rise to the challenge and show that they can do better than Harry Hill and his ill fated "In-Deed" enterprise

    • 21 March 2014 08:23 AM
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    Agents and Lenders are responsible for the crisis within the legal sector. After years of criticizing conveyancers, beating down their fees and increasing your referral fees how do you expect professionals to stay within that field

    • 21 March 2014 07:42 AM
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