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Calls for agent support as social media post reveals conveyancing strains

Estate agents are being urged to be supportive after a LinkedIn post highlighted the current pressures that conveyancers are under to get transactions through exchange and completion.

Karl Willmott-Post, a partner at law firm Dean Wilson, said in a post on the social media platform this week that conveyancing feels like a “constant battle against your inbox/telephone and actually doing the legal work.”

He said: “I would think even the most organised and scheduled conveyancer must struggle to balance the two

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“Setting expectations is so important, but trying to remind and enforce them feels nay on impossible…

“So many of us have left the industry I wonder whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority is truly listening to our concerns.”

His concerns were echoed by comments on the post that complained about the levels of emails and inquiries, lack of staff and expectations of instant response.

It comes as the typical conveyancing period has hit 150 days to get a transaction complete, much to the ire of buyers, sellers, agents and also lawyers.

Rob Hailstone, chief executive of Bold Legal Group, told Estate Agent Today: “The pressure on conveyancers, and many others of course, over the last two and a half years has taken its toll. 

“Many are leaving and not enough are coming in as replacements. We aren’t quite at a crisis point, but not far off it. Like or loathe conveyancers, this is not good for the home buying and selling process, and there is no quick fix.

 “Some could do things better, for example use more tech or use the tech they have better than they do, but I urge all estate agents to bear in mind the current situation and try to work out a way with their conveyancing contacts that they can work with conveyancers in the most productive way possible.”

Hailstone highlighted that Bold Legal Group will be holding a National Conveyancing Week (NCW) next spring to raise the profile of conveyancers and conveyancing to attract people to the profession.

He added: “We would really like estate agents to be a constructive part of NCW.”

  • Matt Faizey

    Until Conveyancers, EA's, and Movers too (yes, you'd be knackered without movers) decide to address each others concerns this merry-go-round will continue.

    This was the original purpose of HSBG I thought?

    Currently we have the poor public being failed by miserable implementation of the system. Not the system itself.

    I can understand why conveyancers are bombarded. I can understand why it's an issue.

    Conveyancers are going to have to come with constructive conversation with a view to engagement as much as EA's and Movers need to listen and then engage.

    Conveyancing and Moving are both approaching a recruitment crisis. A crisis born only of how woefully appalling the process (conveyancing not physical) of moving house is.

    We are reaching a point where all three parties should list their top two concerns. And have all three parties constructively sit down and address them.

    No more waffle about 'automation' no more focussing and wasting years on new ideas doomed to failure because, for example the LS and CA would rather poke each other in the eye than cooperate for the good of the consumer.

    HSBG needs to get back to basics.

    We're ultimately all stuffed without conveyancers, and the market is stuffed without moving companies. Both of which are stuffed without EA's facilitating.

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    I have previously worked in a digital law firm. I use Dragon digital dictation. I use and am comfortable with, various other digital toys on my laptop. I have also worked in commercial and residential conveyancing for several decades.

    Stepping back I have seen a number of burnouts and breakdowns amongst conveyancers over the last few years.

    The core issues are many but in no particular order:
    1 The government keeps piling red tape onto conveyancers
    2 Conveyancing, because of 1, can't be easily 'dumbed down' no matter how much technology is available
    3 Estate Agents are being pressurised by their employers/team leaders/others to harass highly trained legal professionals
    4 Critical stakeholders in the process are starved of resources and have resorted to poor technology.
    5 An over-reliance on technology to compensate for lack of experienced staff has seen processing times soar
    6 Some councils are processing local searches so slowly that deals are falling through

    Food for thought

    Solicitors could have staff dedicated to dealing with routine enquires from agents, clients and others.
    Estate agents recognising the above issues should work collaboratively not confrontationally with lawyers.

    The existing group dedicated to reforming conveyancing should engage in a series of constructive reforms and stop obsessing with headline-grabbing 'reforms' which have little utility in the real world.

  • icon

    In my experience, search providers cause the biggest issues, conveyancers are not able to do much on a file until such time as the search results are back. I have some of my searches taking up to two months to come through and this is causing sales and purchases to bottleneck.

    Also untrained Estate agents not fully knowing the conveyancing process is a huge reason for the delays encountered by conveyancers. Sales progression is a key element of the process and a direct link between all parties, when you have an untrained agent or sales progressor, it just causes massive delays to the lawyer.

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