A law firm says the problems with housing transactions lie not with issues like fall-throughs but with “people’s general lack of understanding of how the conveyancing system works.”
Jonathan Williams, a partner specialising in property law at Roythornes Solicitors operating in the Midlands and across East Anglia, says these issues will prevent government attempts to end gazumping, fall-throughs and other problems affecting the transaction process.
“Yes, it’s true that people do sometimes lose money during the selling and buying process but it’s only a small problem when we consider the much bigger picture – in over 30 years as a conveyancing solicitor I have not seen a huge amount of abortive transactions” he says.
He says that because “anyone can set themselves up as an estate agent” there is a chance that they will not have noticed defects in the title deeds or the absence of essential paperwork needed to make a successful sale.
“Conveyancing transactions are not just plagued by a lack of preparation, but also by offers taken from people who do not have the means to buy” Williams continues.
“Conveyancing has become more onerous and time consuming, with the risk management required for lawyers, buyers, sellers and mortgagees adding further expense. In my view it’s not worth the government banning gazumping to try and fix a system which although not ideal is not broken either” he insists.
“The fact is that moving home and getting the best price for our properties are highly emotive issues, and will remain so regardless of the rules around one annoying practice. Why not instead educate potential buyers and sellers on better preparation and seeking good and informed counsel?” he concludes.
In recent months, conveyancing industry bodies have called on their sector to embrace more modernisation and HM Land Registry has made outspoken comments on the need for conveyancers to improve their processes.