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Tim Higham
Partner and Head of Conveyancing at Trethowans LLP Solicitors (www.trethowans.com)
2617  Profile Views

About Me

Tim is a highly experienced and respected Solicitor specialising in residential property law. Having obtained an LLB law degree, Tim qualified in 1997 and has spent his career in Devon, Berkshire and, in the last 9 years, here in Wiltshire.

Formerly a Partner of a four office Devizes firm, Tim joined Trethowans as an Associate in July 2008 as Head of the Residential Property Team and became a Senior Associate in 2010 and ultimately Partner in April 2011.

Tim specialises in all aspects of residential conveyancing, including bespoke high value sales and purchases of both freehold and leasehold properties, land options, the creation of long property leases, lease extensions, trust deeds, and mortgages.

Since being at Trethowans, Tim has brought a refreshing drive for ever increasing quality for his Team. He continuously demands that his Team are not standard '9 to 5 workers' but in fact provide clients with the very best value for money in the area, whether through the quality of legal advice, documentation, regular client communication and always going 'that extra mile'.

Tim's goal is to offer a quality service that few firms are able to match, so that clients can truely feel they have their own personal lawyer for life.

my expertise in the industry

Specialist areas:

Sales, purchases, mortgages and plot sales
Transfers of ownership and trust deeds
Overage/uplift agreements, the grant of rights over land and land options
Equity Release mortgages
Grant of long residential leases

Tim's Recent Activity

Tim Higham
If solicitor firms offered large conveyancing, I am convinced the SRA would intervene. Why? Ask conveyancers who their top 5 worst performing conveyancing outfits are. Look for the pattern. And why we groan when Memos of Sale arrive from estate agents. Hence why SRA should take over regulating ALL conveyancers. If only they could. And as for all singing I.T - what a red-herring as that is a cause of the robotification of conveyancing which is an instant conflict with what conveyancing requires. It needs a legally skilled human mind to avoid the public buying into legal errors. Again, I would be regulating I.T systems, as much as the quality of the human conveyancer allowed to touch a conveyancing file. For the last 20 years we have already had the fastest possible I.T - email - and it is used expertly by the dynamic conveyancers for a mega fast deal, but atrociously by the inferior conveyancers. Give an average conveyancer the best I.T in the world, and you have the best I.T in the world ...still being used by an average conveyancer. Pointless. The conveyancing industry is decaying and currently headed in only one direction. It's heartbreaking - after all the years of effort we give to our clients - but I know when I retire I will be wishing the public 'good luck' when using a conveyancer.........unless dramatic change comes about. Referral fees - of course they should be banned. No payment - cash or kind - from conveyancer to estate agent, not even commission. No estate agent can be owmed by a legal firm either, or vice versa, and no firm can act for buiyer or seller (and not through another company they own either). With massive fines for breaches.

From: Tim Higham 04 January 2022 20:20 PM

Tim Higham
If it would, to any degree, we'd have been doing it years ago. But cute to hear non practising conveyancers comment on what would help practising conveyancers speed up from offer to exchange. It takes lawyers two weeks to send a legal pack on average. So upfront would at least save two weeks? No, it wouldn't. Conveyancers would then find an excuse to keep to that same 2 weeks - probably getting ID (as electronic is risky as it does not combat impersonation) signed TOBs, money on account.... Lots of well intended people with ideas, lots of profiteering parasites too, but don't overlook - most do - that title deed investigation, implications of disclosures in the Property Information Form, search result entries all take a legal mind. Get any of that legal bit wrong, and you might be sat surrounded by the latest IT gear, but you then are sat with a negligence claim whilst crying into your fancy latest IT gear. Nothing will replace the human legal mind that is needed. But what would improve the speed of home moving is just that - improving the legal mind of the actual conveyancer. But no one is looking at that. There is no profit in that. So slow mediocre ill-trained conveyancers keep holding up deals into months. But hey, we might get fancy portals, reservation agreements, upfront information - but still with chains laced with mediocre conveyancers holding it back. (And in the UK, please stop talking about AI...China will get AI first , but we'll be decades behind, isn't that right Alexa "sorry, I don’t know that one")

From: Tim Higham 30 January 2020 21:22 PM

Tim Higham
Well said Matthew. RAs are no kind of solution to keep the conveyancing process running to an exchange. As a conveyancer I'd jump at the chance not to have abortive deals, but RAs are not relevant to what cause deals to collapse. Another white elephant like Veyo always was destined to be the second conveyancers learned about it. The US and other jurisdictions versus England & Wales is like comparing apples with oranges. And I certainly would not be advancing the US system as any kind of kite mark. My goodness, right this minute my family are currently selling a US property, and what a shambles already. Within days of marketing our Real Estate Agent (paid 6% ..... for listing it locally - as there is no Rightmove - and don't think for a moment it is like the tv where they have open houses and prep the house with furniture and really earn their 6%) sends us - what I had to struggle in my capacity as a solicitor to even understrand - a contract that we are free to accept or reject (and on an aside, the US need to update their legal language, my goodness, how old fashioned, and this said by a UK lawyer) a written offer from a buyer with their part of the contract signed. All we have to do is sign to agree it. Yet we have not completed any equivalent of a property information form (to tell them our neighbours are crazy (ok they are not, but we could have), and certainly given no leasehold management information to reveal what massive charges and forthcomign expense is likely yet (ok it isnt but see the point) so I cannot for one minute think it will bind them if we accept it, as this will all be subject to that sort of information......like an RA.....and certainly no different to E&Wales. Instead fix some of the real issues why deals collapse: - agents not agreeing timescales as a condition of having your offer accepted...so they have to know the chain, and make sure dates along each link have been agreed - less conveyancers allowed to practise and who must have some sort of legal qualification - no offers accepted without a MIP - Councils with slow turnaround times, sellers should commission the search while marketing

From: Tim Higham 23 October 2019 20:25 PM

Tim Higham
Very disappointing that reservation agreements and upfront information seem to be hyped as some sort of cure for why the standards of conveyancing are so shockingly poor oput there So poor out there that it is almost a scandal for the public to even secure decent legal work. We all face the low quality conveyancing, the worst moment being when you call to exchange and you listen and feel so bad for their client at what possible quality they secured. Frankly, I consider it a real failure to properly crutinise what are the key ingredients to making a conveyancing transaction fly through, and what are those which cause delay. Instead rid us of the reasons for the current delays and you have your result. - no offer can be accepted without a mortgage in principle. Full stop. - no offer can be accepted without you revealing what timescale you can commit to (with a chain of those commitments passed along fro the buyer at the start) - conveyancers currently need zero legal training. That is madness. We could badge the office cleaner as a conveyancer and set them to work. The Government need to step in and correct that scandal. - the moment a leasehold offer is accepted, that same day (hence preparation of price and address) the LPE1 pack should be requested from a managing agent - CML / the Protocol is not detailed enough to: - save the public £00m’s a year with pointless legal insurance and avoid legal delay and: - cap the time after which FENSA, GASAFE, NICEIC certifications are needed - cap the time after which conveyancers need not secure covenant consent (seriously which member is the public is going to come into your office and say ‘I know I watched a conservatory / extension go up X years ago, but not I want to take action’ - cap the time after which lack of building control is purely a matter of survey (12 months, as beyond that unless a surveyor says there is a continuing danger to health and safety which is all the Council would do to enforce) it is a matter of survey) - make all s.106 agreements not binding on plot owners - ensure road adoption charges never fall to frontagers on a new build - make it crystal clear not to send pro forma sheets with conservatory questionnaires or septic tank questionnaires or overriding interests ones (yes firms still do) - deposits must not come to solicitors by cheque, only same day bank transfer - the exchanges formulas need to inbuild an undertaking on the conveyancer that they will take out the indemnity policy supplied to the buyer during the conveyancing, doing it on completion at their clients expense. - do not leave raising enquiries until all the searches are back (yes there are some law firms that still lose multiple weeks of potential conveyancing) - the Protocol form TA7 is pointless and should be scrapped - Protocol form TA6 is too brief and misses too many frequently asked questions And again......the worst thing.....conveyancers currently need zero legal training. That is madness. We could badge the office cleaner as a conveyancer and set them to work. The Government need to step in and correct that scandal.

From: Tim Higham 21 October 2019 22:25 PM

Tim Higham
What question was asked to receive the answer 'how about reservation agreements?' What can reduce fall throughs and speed up conveyancing? That was the most popular answer!? The one taking prime attention? Asked of how many people!? I appreciate that there are vested interests starting in the Government working their way down, as massive profits/money is made from conveyancing but whoever is brave enough could really improve things: Fall throughs: 1. Poor/no financial vetting of buyers - this has crept in badly over the last few years. Far more competition and desperation to take any buyer as commission is commission…but too many fall-throughs are happening because a mortgage cannot be obtained. That is more and more common. Why are buyers not financially vetted!!! Instead make MIPs mandatory before an offer can be accepted, or proof of cash in bank/cast iron proof of access to the purchase price on a max notice of 30 days 2. Rid us of slow conveyancers - start by regulating who is permitted to be a conveyancer. At the moment, a legal office's cleaner can be badged as a conveyancer. Madness! That is why the standard among conveyancers is so low - legal errors continue, sluggish ‘I am not a confident conveyancer’ deals continue, etc Speed up conveyancing: 1. same point above about conveyancers BUT also: a. conveyancers should be required to be called a mandated name to be allowed to handle the legal work for a home move, and based on experience, so the public can weed out outfits farming out non-experienced ‘conveyancers’ on the public e.g ‘Conveyancer' if above 7 years experience, 'Trainee Conveyancer' if below. b. law firms required to publish all residential conveyancing PII claims and Ombudsman upheld determinations (and self-insuring outfits to publish all complaints if they have no PII claims) against all existing staff at that business 2. And to help mortgage lenders because they must be sitting on millions of properties with defects from poor conveyancing, the CML Handbook to radically change: a. Needs to be a Q&A section to explain typical scenarios so conveyancers have certainty what CML mean b. CML to state more situations when they do NOT need legal indemnity insurance so conveyancers need not get stuck on daft issues scared witless to use legal knowledge/common sense because they might be told by a conveyancing outfit (with neither) that they made a mistake and legal insurance is needed. c. More concise and helpful to the conveyancer 3. The Government to clearly prescribe/re-egislate: a. planning and building control enforcement guidance to succinctly state when Councils can and cannot take action for breaches - none of this ‘well they could still take injunctions if..' b. after what time covenants cannot be enforced by the courts (and actually allowing removal by the Land Registry on proof of breach however defined) c. state when Chancel liability will now be enforceable against home owners, as the recent changes arguably did nothing “not being interests in land capable of being overriding interests anyway” d. a far more instant registration of a cast iron easement where title deeds are silent / where access has been had over a footpath/bridleway where deeds are silent e. who owns a boundary wall where deeds are silent (surprising there is no legal indemnity insurance for that….what out there soon will be) 4.The three legal regulators to be required to agree a single mandatory Conveyancing Protocol, form of contract and Property Information Forms (the later of which seriously needs far more questions asked and answered)....and not allowing bulldozing to dumb things down (i.e conditional planning consents always produced by the seller, none of this 20 year nonsense) 5. Ban contract packs by email/hosting. A full bundle in paper, sorry, but electronic so often means - as no one likes to looks at multiple pdfs online - it is not checked when completed by the seller, simply forwarded by the selling lawyer, corners cut by the buying lawyerwho can't face the hassle of reading it - and mistakes continue, or it is left to one side to have to find the time to print collate, and return it all for all the errors as it was not prooof read when sent out 6. No one can offer conveyancing if they do not also offer a specialist in the areas the home moving process always impacts: a. wills b.Trusts c. Probate d. Family/matrimonial e. Litigation f. Company The public need all the raminfications - solutions when things go wrong - not 'conveyancing only' Some may seem unfair - but just get it done! Make England and Wales a continuing example of how property ownership should be recorded and transferred.

From: Tim Higham 15 February 2019 20:05 PM

Tim Higham
Property Management companies could all be required to provide a prescribed factsheet at the introduction to their own management pack to explain what a lease is and what the tenants are buying into….and therefore paying towards. Set the scene, to answer Mr Cane's own concern. But I can see no attempt to suggest that. Someone else's problem. No mention of the surveyor to have a fact sheet, or a mortgage company, or the selling estate agent. Ok, so the conveyancer has to do more as usual. After all we already take on a surveyor's role with drainage searches, environmental searches, flood searches - so why not. But then again, the solicitor's instilled duty - if you are lucky enough to actually bag a solicitor firm as your conveyancer - is to always put the public's best interest first, not profit. So, conveyancers could and should indeed step up and do a factsheet, it's a simple fix: all conveyancers should make leasehold clients aware of the 'Living In Leasehold Flats' Guide from lease-advice.org when reporting to them - we have for some time. But I can't believe for one minute that more conveyancers than not - thus prompting this article - would fail to give a copy of the lease to their client, to fail to explain the duration of it, fail to warn that as the years drop so does the value of the property, and then fail to explain that is may be possible to extend the lease. Or fail to point out that they have a landlord who tells them what they can and cannot do in the flat (covenants) and even a sweep up warning to ask any and all questions a client has, or if they do not understand anything they are reading...before exchange occurs. Naive no, sarcastic, sadly I am, as we see vast numbers of old Client Property Reports from law firms when we obtain client's deeds, and too many are shocking to read. I consider the biggest culprits are the law firms who I call ‘dribblers'. The ones who send their buying client piecemeal documents as they themselves receive them. Shocking method of 'reporting'. Talk about no context for the client, no overall picture, a bit by bit jigsaw, which clients will not remember from one communication to the next to link it all together. "Here is a lease of the flat you are bound by, ask any questions"…….next letter: "Here is the seller's completed questionnaire"…….next letter: ."Here are some guarantees"…….next letter: ."here is a copy of the sellers registered title, and this is the plan of the property edged in red"!??? Worse still, imagine sending it all by email to a client. Another random pdf….another random pdf……I can’t stand my own car insurance via pdf, I would go bonkers if my conveyancer deluged me with crucial explanatory documents by drip feed email pdfs. Instead, add the pdfs together in a 'beginning middle and end Report’ - and not just a few pages, but actually explain the significance of things. The above Guide is a real head start, and then fill in the specifics of the present purchase with the same headings. The Law Society Conveyancing Handbook used to have a suggested written Report, adopt that and improve on it. You’ll have a working precedent in no time. (Fine, save trees if you want to send to clients electronically - but emails get deleted…a bound written Report is less likely to….and it sits around with your logo on so remains ever marketing you.) And be prompt about sending your Report out. We target a 4 week exchange max on all deals, communicating regularly with clients even during that time - weekly if not more frequently. Conveyancing Managers - let's avoid articles like this one, just make sure your clients receive quality, don’t just accept any CV for a new conveyancer, secure quality. Take a sale file, and a purchase file and brainstorm where you could up your game, and impress your clients. I do this weekly! Imagine every deal as if it were your own private sale/purchase. Clients will be delighted, Agents will be too. And conveyancers won’t have to groan any more when they look at an Estate Agent’s Memo of Sale and see the conveyancer they are going to face.

From: Tim Higham 17 January 2019 09:14 AM

Tim Higham
Let's hope it is not because they feel they also have to budget for removal companies who forfeit the deposit if the public innocently have to cancel their removals booking, or if the removal men can't wait any longer to begin their weekend and so shoot off and require storage fees over the weekend. As surely removal companies will soffer cheap insurance to guard against that. Sadly we still encounter 'I want the cheapest conveyancing quote' seekers, who break our hearts as we know they are going to get what they pay for elsewhere - as they simply won't listen to the warning 'feel free to not use us, but never choose because they are cheapest, as cheap is always for a reason. Instead just make sure whoever you use has/does X,Y and Z'. So yes, saving conveyancing fees is still out there. But 100% saving by doing DIY? I can think of only twice in my career that I have faced a person doing their own conveyancing, and I had to warn my client at the start that I had to raise my fees as I had to guide the person throughout - naturally. And again, a real worry as they were not asking the right questions, but that was their choice. Has anyone else faced DIYers? But the article is right, as is part of the comment above; lawyers are now the cheapest part of the process - like agents are now doing to themselves - gone are the days of the %. Instead conveyancers have competed between themselves on who is the cheapest, and look where they are now, rock bottom pricing. Yet if they get it wrong, even the most trivial things (missing guarantees for windows!?, missing building control consents which then develop a repair bill etc) to the more serious (no legal access, missing land, an unpaid mortgage) can ultimately mean a lawsuit for the full value of the property, maybe even their professional insurance not covering their error and the law firm even closes. So even conveyancers can get it wrong, but imagine the untrained member of the public. But true, the quality between conveyancing firms is dramatic - hence choosing on price is a complete red herring - probably the worst I have seen in over 20 years now. So pick your conveyancer carefully and you will have a real supporting hand during the process, rather than an expensive parasite, a hidden charging profiteer, or a snail paced liability at your side. Use an expert conveyancer (they are out there) and don't think conveyancers are all the same - they are dramatically different. Seek out impressive conveyancing.

From: Tim Higham 15 November 2018 19:49 PM

Tim Higham
Hidden conveyancing fees are nasty and they are rife. Seek a guarantee of no extra charges! The hidden/buried charges come about because some conveyancers will choose a very low looking price say they charge, and then within their terms of business they inbuild an ability to charge (being the conveyancers own charge ..their own profit) for things that will inevitably always crop up, and which other firms instead include at the start in the their more realistic looking fee. Indeed the ‘things’ that can be charged extra for can mount up so fast and be so costly. Like what? - filling in a stamp duty form - acting for a mortgage company (when you have already told them you are having a mortgage) - compulsory ID check admin fee - sending you proof of the registration of your property on your purchase (seriously!?) - a charge for every enquiry the lawyer raises of the selling lawyer on their paperwork - yes seriously that exists, talk about a blank cheque - checks against another lawyer’s bank details to make sure your lawyer does not send it to a fraudster - acting in unregistered land (seriously!?) - discharging a mortgage …the list goes on (I bet other posts will name some more) NOTE: The worst one I know is where the conveyancing business says "IF your mortgage offer gives you a friendly reminder not to forget your lawyer is charging you a conveyancing fee, and even gives an example of what that is …..whatever the amount in the example…..then we can claim that example sum as a fee too" - yes, seriously !???? But imagine one step further. Imagine if a conveyancing business then finds an estate agent or an estate agent chain and offers them a cash bung, so high the agent does not care or enquire about the quality of the conveyancing, meaning the conveyancing business now has guaranteed customers on tap….now imagine how profitable the extra charges could work out being…how tempting to keep adding to the list above…..and how rife they would become across the country. None of the above sounds nice does it…..so pick your conveyancer carefully, or your ‘cheap looking fee’ could end up sky high, when it is too late to do anything about it. Cheap looking conveyancing is cheap for a reason.

From: Tim Higham 09 November 2018 20:50 PM

Tim Higham
I had to babysit tonight so I have time on my hands...clearly...... If I hear about another house removal company penalising a customer with waiting, storage and cancellation charges, often for cancelling a booking even weeks before a planned completion that has to be changed! Conveyancers are the cheapest part of the home move process - mortgage lenders, mortgage advisers, surveyors (sometimes), removals, estate agents - yet we can be incredibly flexible and generous. We stay beyond working hours for no extra charge, we don't charge for dealing with a late completion in the chain, we fix legal defects without additional charge etc, and we even get people in houses on a late completion chain, by working together to give and accept verbal promises to pay the following day. But everyone mentioned above needs to step up and work better together, not in isolation. Sadly, there are typical reasons for delays on the completion day, and it can involve all the above mentioned parties (1) the (so often volume) conveyancing firm who hasn't put the money in the system early enough or the conveyancer who hasn't realised they have received the buyers money and sits on it and does not then pay it onwards or even the conveyancer who (yes this has started) emails to say they have the money rather than phones (2) the seller is unwilling to vacate until they are good and ready causing the buyer/removals to hang around (3) the removals company can’t wait any longer and have to leave and will charge x,y,z (4) the conveyancing firm who are so inferior they have no clue what to do when delay happens and so go quiet, or go home early, or isn’t confident enough with their own client to say ‘don’t demand money has to arrive, let the people in and accept their lawyers undertaking to pay the money the next day with interest' For the moment, there are zero good ideas planned - don't believe the marketing hype, there are really are none - to help home movers/the conveyancing process. I also make the point that you simply will not get all lawyers working online together either for simultaneous money transfers or viewing transactions or even communicating (Email is as instant IT as you can get; but try getting most conveyancers to even reply to an email the same day.) That is all years off, as the standard of conveyancer is not good enough for that to happen....unless CML force it on lawyers in which case what mess. So for the moment, what should and could happen is quite simple: 1. CHAPS to be faster. It can take take minutes to an hour or more. Totally random. 2. Conveyancers to better organise themselves to handle completions. However fast CHAPS is, the human conveyxer needs to be available to action the consequences of incomng money and to arrange for key release and checking clients are out etc - as we can handle dozens and dozens a day 3. All mortgage lenders to release mortgage funds the day before completion. 4. CML to positively interfere and state the form of contract to be used (the Law Society version, i.e stripped to bare minimum) 5. Requiring conveyancers to send out their replies to requisitions before exchange, not on the day of completion all too often!? We always send it out with the contract papers (yet some lawyers till ask a day before completion for it, and we embarrass them into finding it) 6. Mortgage advisers to make sure the lender knows if there are solar panels, gifted deposits, etc so we do not cause delay later on when we have to tel the elder for the first time!? 7. Surveyors to urge buyers to have their own boiler, gas, oil and electric inspections NEVER rely on bits of paperwork from the seller, as they are out of date, not their contact etc. 8. Currently completion can take place up to 11.59pm on the day (as only 1/2pm is relevant for interest). Change that to require completion by say 1pm (not just for interest only purposes) or completion is treated as happening next day and is a breach of the contract 9. Banning conveyancers from using email as a way to inform each other money has arrived and keys are released. Pick of the phone!!! 10. Problem is not all sellers vacate at the same time….removals can be slow etc…..so make mandatory bold warnings on the contracts for sale, and on the property information form warning sellers to be out by 12 noon at the latest. 11. Conveyancers need to know who is in the chain. We don’t get told. Often Agents do not know themselves. When I do know, I have now started sending a single email to everyone I know in the chain (lawyers and agents) and getting us to ‘reply all’ so we can talk, reveal who needs what and agree timings - it also adds peer pressure on the slow links. Its bad at the moment, we must spend 70% of our files chaing slow lawyers, local regional and national. 12. Raise the standard of every conveyancer. Broken record, but standards are the worst since I started in 1995. Shoddy conveyancing means a completion day can take ages. It is no lie to say that law firms can put the office cleaner at a desk and put them to work as a conveyancer - that fact is scandalous 13. Regulate the charging by removal companies of waiting, storage and cancellation - make it upfront and very transparent as a warning above where the customer signs…failing which no charge 14. Lender panel management needs to stop. Most lenders do not use one. This duplicates so much of the CML duties conveyancers already must and know to do, it means the public get charged more as the conveyancers have to pay (!?), and conveyancers are constantly distracted from the legal work and time is wasted. 13. Speed up the conveyancing legal work too, as the longer a deal takes, the less attentive everyone remains, leading to disinterest right at the last minute/completion day - sadly too often true. How? a. Improve the Property Information Form with better questions /ones typically asked and remove others b. Make the Law Society practice note even better to clarify whether enviro (and chancel searches) really are needed - Lenders should either not want them or they should obtain their own as part of the valuation process, and surveyors should as part of doing a survey. Not the lawyer. c. make Council searches far simpler and CML to state all mortgage lenders accept indemnity insurance d. make all mortgage redemption statements disclose if an early repayment penalty will apply to the same customer’s new mortgage (i.e if it fails to link the two, then it is not payable) e. make the seller always supply conditional planning consents, never the buyer's responsibility f. CML to clarify what ‘necessary’ planning and building control consents means. Necessary at the time, or necessary now to prevent probable enforcement? - maybe by setting a time limit after which they are not necessary g. Managing agents/Landlords to supply LPE1 packs in x days or face a fine h. and the list goes on

From: Tim Higham 19 October 2018 22:33 PM

Tim Higham
As a conveyancer, I always warn friends - who I will never act for - that price is a complete red herring. NEVER choose a conveyancer based on price. We are generalising, obviously, but cheapos are cheap for a reason, expensive ones are wanting to do less for more. Instead, ALWAYS look for signs of quality...ALWAYS: 1. seek out Lexcel accreditation for the law firm - and yes, I would tell friends and family to only use Solicitor firms, sorry CLC, but I am entitled to feel that 2. don't assume your friends are right when they say they used a good conveyancer, as they will only know that for sure when they sell (and no mistakes are discovered) 3. avoid a conveyancer who does not promote their conveyancing team photos and personal contact details on their website 4. review them on Google 5. test the quality of a conveyancer by asking: a. will they offer a named lawyer with a law degree or at least 10 years experience b. do they close for lunch or dead at 5pm c. do they use locums or will their own Team step up instead and seamlessly cover holidays d. do they promise NOT to wait for money on account before starting to work e. do they use personal conveyancing searches, or will they promise to use Official ones f. will they send out the legal contract pack to the buyers on the same day as the Estate Agent Memo arrives or will they come up with an excuse to days longer? g. do they promote themselves as prompt (e.g do they target a 4 week exchange in all transactions) h. do they mainly talk about being fast, or cheap, rather than explaining their own quality i. will they promise not to allocate you to a trainee solicitor j. do they promise not to fob you off to an online 'case tracking' site, but instead do they offer to personally update you in detail by phone or email, at least once a week.

From: Tim Higham 03 September 2018 23:10 PM

Tim Higham
A vast amount of conveyancers don't care. You are dead right Andrew - the EPC is a good one, yes, we even tell conveyancers the website as a separate enclosure in our contract despatch letter and they still ask!? It is why I ask that my team be different and to simply treat their conveyancing files as if they were their own property sale/purchase (i.e would you close the file if it were yours, or is there something else you can do?). But let us balance this conveyancing critique up. How many marketing weeks can pass in the hands of an estate agent. Maybe conveyancers should chase agents "so, have you got your Rightmove adverts uploaded, have you given feedback to my client on the last few viewings, have you vetted the buyer's financial worth properly, can I please have an update as you had been marketing for 9 weeks now...etc etc." And let's not forget, so many properties sell themselves (e.g London) with almost nil input by the Agent, yet they then want to chase and hassle the conveyancer who does have to do some crucial and career ending work if they get it wrong. And then we have the estate agents who give up after an offer has been accepted playing no part in project managing their own deal through the legal stages. But back to conveyancers - the standard is so shocking out there, yes. Every day I face a new surprise - e.g Friday I had a Partner at a law firm say 'I know the FENSA website shows your client had their 2009 works accredited, but before I exchange I want you to place an order so their website can print out for £20 that same fact on a nice certificate'. SOLUTION? Tackle the quality of the actual human doing the conveyancing; police who is permitted to even look in the direction of a conveyancing file let alone touch one. But no one is brave enough. Instead, just rubbish ideas about this IT software/idea, and that IT software idea, blah blah.

From: Tim Higham 09 July 2018 19:37 PM

Tim Higham
Yikes. Here is the original article in the Mirror. 1. If you want an automatic 'no completion no fee' guarantee, then that is typically the volume outfits where they do very little and so have little to write off. 2. The Mirror article says "Instead, I used conveyancing price comparison searches, then found the best-reviewed, reasonably priced [conveyancer] I could." - Fatal. We won't go on such websites as they simply scream "our legal service is dreadful, but we are cheap...please please please use us" 3. Cheap, fast and accurate. You will never get all three. Which will you sacrifice? Instead secure: affordable, prompt and accurate. 4. "local law firm to drop off documents". Red-herring as conveyancers do not visit the property and conveyancer to conveyancer work is all email and letters….and they give clients prepaid envelopes getting you signed up weeks in advance anyway. Or we do at least. 5. Sellers do NOT do gas/electricity inspections of their own property.....the English system is 'buyer beware'. Buyer's lawyers...tell your clients to do their own, and don't ask selling lawyers, as it just delays everyone getting the deal done. Buyers survey, buyers inspect. If a seller does them, the contract is not with the buyer, so it is doubly a waste of time, and false buyer security. Seller's lawyers....tell your clients as much....and estate agents, don't make a seller do them so as to not rock your commission boat. Support your client and tell a buyer to do their own. 6. Buyers lawyers, don’t slow the deal down and ask for FENSA and GasSafe certificates when the relevant websites shows the property had accredited work (https://www.fensa.org.uk/fensa-certificate https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/notifications/landing-page/ ) 7. Sellers. Remember, your Estate Agent is the project manager, it is their deal, they put it together. They are paid huge money and they need to keep the deal together at all times. Use them. Your lawyer is not your project manager, they make sure the legal papers are sound, hence they charge a fraction of the estate agent, as their role is quite different. 8. Estate Agents - support the selling lawyer (you are the same team) but also make sure the selling lawyer does not drop the baton you handed to them when you put the deal together, as you need them to make sure you are paid…..too many conveyancers think estate agents are a pain, but they need to realise you chase/call as you depend on them to get paid for all your prior weeks of work. 9. I am a solicitor whose first priority is my client at all times, so sorry, I therefore cannot say a good thing about an online only estate agent. 10. The conveyancer. Go cheap, get cheap, Good luck. The price of a conveyancer is a complete red-herring. It guarantees nothing, whether cheap or expensive ….but £672 is far too low by any standard for a leasehold sale for a lawyer (inclusive of VAT etc) Yikes. As with estate agent, the lower you pay, the less incentive there is to go the extra mile when it is needed. Don't be naive to think otherwise. They are cheap for a reason. 11. A conveyancer must NEVER blindly forward enquiries to their selling client without checking if their client should be answering them. Examples are the conservatory questionnaires or septic tank ones. We reject them nor use them. For every question a seller replies to in a conveyancing transaction, the buyer may have a future claim for a possible misrepresentation. If the seller gets sued, and they counter against you as their conveyancer because ’the Protocol says I never had to answer it and you didn’t protect me'….PII claim. Tomorrow, my firm could badge our office cleaner (no disrespect to cleaners) as a conveyancer and set them loose and there is no regulation stopping it. Madness. The problem for James Andrews in this article, is that not a single body, regulator or organisation is focused on tackling that issue - one of the biggest culprits for conveyancing misery…the quality of the actual conveyancer doing the legal work.

From: Tim Higham 21 June 2018 22:31 PM

Tim Higham
If you could see as I do every single day at work, you would be horrified with the quality of conveyancing out there. I face it day in day out. The most depressing moment is when you call another conveyancer, and their voice and manner make you worried for the legal work they just gave their own client. Or the legal defects/issues you can see, but which the other conveyancer does not spot - and you feel so bad for their client. THEIR client ...each time. Conveyancing is being run into the ground as no one has a clue / a willingness to fix the single biggest issue that is wrong with it - the quality of the actual person handling the legal work. Standards are the lowest in 20+years. Worst in my career. Bad enough we have volume outfits blurring the 'goods v service' distinction, piling it high by bunging eye-wateringly high amounts of cash to purchase the public's conveyancing, but the poor service standards are creeping throughout the industry. Is it in competition with that model, so you feel you have to employ cheap, promise to train up in-house, but then you never do. Is it lack of career opportunities, so conveyancers have no real drive to be the best they can? Is it the lack of any regular exam to maintain standards? But unless you are a conscientious conveyancer doing the job, you just don't know how to fix it. You will end up pushing a 'theory plaster' our way. Non-conveyancers can jump in and suggest things, but just ask the conveyancers - how are conveyancers failing the public, and what can be done to change each one. Improvements to the quality of the actual human conveyancers would raise the standard of the actual conveyancer, and thus pace, communication, accuracy etc......the entire failing list I just mentioned. Problem is, conveyancing is s service, not a good (i.e not a tin of Heinz beans which multiple suppliers can offer albeit at different prices.) But vast numbers of people just can't see that. Conveyancing is unique to each law firm, as is the individual house sale or purchase being handled. Disrespecting the public into law firms having to offer a one size fits all price approach is not a solution to anything that is wrong with conveyancing, as all that will do is flag up 'price' as some how relevant, to securing quality conveyancing, and will suggest to the public - who already telephone and say how much' is conveyancing as they do not know what else to ask as conveyancing is foreign to them - that price really is the only factor between law firms=, so go with the cheapest. Yikes!! Instead, not one member of the public ever asks, "do you have Lexcel accreditation," or "will my lawyer have an actual law degree".....and profiteering law firms know the public don't, and tomorrow, a solicitor firm could badge their office cleaner as a conveyancer and set them to work - there is no regulation stopping it. Focus on the quality of the human person doing the legal work - then the conveyancing process flies, as you weed out mediocre, you raise expertise and therefore confidence, and therefore pace, accuracy, and communication. Everyone wins. Sadly, Google the above solution/idea - no one is talking about doing it. Instead, just more IT software nonsense (when conveyancers are already so bad at using the fastest IT communication tool in the world - email) and e'conveyancing (at a time when identity fraud is sky high!?).

From: Tim Higham 07 June 2018 23:23 PM

Tim Higham
The Government is rightly focussing on the ‘quality' of the actual conveyancer allowed to touch the public's home moving file. Just as they seem to be looking to do with Estate Agents. At the moment a law business can overnight badge, say their office cleaner as a conveyancer and off that person goes. Frightening misapplication of skills. The quality of the conveyancer is the biggest reason for why home moving is so sluggish, and downright painful. I feel so bad for anyone seeking a conveyancing quote, as they are on such a knife edge of picking badly. Too many conveyancing organisations use poorly skilled trained staff to process drive a persons home move, treating it as a good, rather than the ‘service; it actually is. Those organisations then pay huge referral fee to entice work, and that corrupts too many estate agents to see £ signs rather than care about the quality of the conveyancer, and the cycle continues. It is why some estate agents, too often high street chains, are shunned in their own Town as law firms won't tarnish themselves or their client's business with their low quality. And sadly it is also why the same conveyancing organisations come up when you ask a conveyancer their top 10 list of who they dread facing on a home move transaction. I estimate 60 of my time on a sale or purchase is spend chasing the other conveyancer. All that time the deal could already have exchanged. And I just blank out how many times buying conveyancers do not spot obvious issues. But instead of addressing the quality of the human conveyancer, we have references to 'IT this and that' as some kind of answer - a complete red herring/distraction, as give a mediocre conveyancer all bells IT, and you still have a mediocre conveyancer, now with all bells IT - when the reality is, put two well trained (in law, conveyancing practice and procedure) conveyancers opposite each other, or line up the chain with them ….and it flies. No robotic letters, pro forma enquiries, no indemnity policy requests for things with no risk of enforcement etc, solutions with enquiries, not just enquiries, no silence for weeks then ‘here are your answers can we now complete’ outfits. Agents receive great feedback as a result of deals with good conveyancers involved, and buyer/seller (or both sometimes) send them gratitude (and therefore repeat business), lawyers do too, and lawyers and agents refer work to each other as it is a winning team…. (Referral fees are such a travesty to the public, they need to go - but make sure any ban covers ways to circumvent them too - there are so many ways.)

From: Tim Higham 10 April 2018 20:40 PM

Tim Higham
"How about you display true concern and empathise with the public instead of just defending conveyancers” - Yikes, not warranted, and especially about Rob - of all people! 'Tumbleweed' over - well sort of - WE used to reserve the right to charge more. Never aware anyone charged it so we got rid of it. The idea was to deal with the scenario where the lawyers (us) were completely (and innocently of course) overlooked and our client and the other side suddenly agreed a completion date, days away, and then assumed we could push all other commitments aside, handle pre completion searches and admin, request mortgage funds and deal with any funding panic at the drop of a hat. Almost dictating how we are to manage our own legal work. The extra revenue did not find the extra time, true, but it was a reflection of the fact that that is not the sort of rushing about a conveyancer needs to be doing and some extra reward for that extra effort and risk is justified. But the reality was that so few clients did that, and in fact, as the years passed, the converse is now true for our Team, we actually prefer - maybe not our secretaries who prepare them ;o) - going straight to exchange and completion, with no gap, or as little gap as possible. We like getting deals done, as we know we employ law degree and/or experienced conveyancers where legal mistakes will not have been made despite the pace, so go for it! True, it often wastes time, as one law firm usually lets you down and everything has to be re-prepared, or lenders cannot release the money in time. But I agree, such a charge should be incredibly rare, as applying it every time is wrong, and that makes it a hidden charge that lowers the conveyancer's headline rate to look more attractive to win the work, and yet bumps up the clients’ bill. One of the reasons why price is so irrelevant when finding a decent conveyancer. Cheap for a reason folks! Let’s be clear: 1. A conveyancer is there to scrutinise the legal papers they are sent and to make sure there are no legal defects or onerous clauses 2. If they overlook any (i.e no legal access to the property, no Council consents, or covenants consents, third party rights over the property etc) they can face a lawsuit costing £5k - £50k - £100k - £1m - the sky is the limit, and conveyancing is the highest area for claims 3. Which other part of the home moving process can lead the hard working honest person to face career ending law suits (no firm will want a conveyancer with a pattern of mistakes) 4. Exchange can only happen when all lawyers are ready in the chain, and their clients and lenders have no objection/consent. 5. Completion date - that date is nothing to do with the lawyer, clients move not the lawyer 6. I agree with Matt - there are shocking conveyancing standards, BUT as there are estate agents out there at the moment, usually the former are bred by the latter herding the public to conveyancers in return for eye watering amounts of cash bungs. 7. I cannot abide the silly add ons by conveyancers - being their pure profit for doing their job: ‘filling in a stamp duty form’ or the ‘if it is unregistered land’ or the ‘acting for a lender’ or the 'ID checks ‘ or the ‘the mortgage offer sets out a legal fee your conveyancer will charge’ or the ‘check the bank details of the other lawyer search’ or the ‘if we have to ask more than 10 enquiries we charge per extra enquiry’….where so many apply every time. Just awful. 8. Matt - you are right to ask why the same names of conveyancers are associated with last minute delays.... we now warn clients when we have certain law firms on the other side. It helps to manage expectations. Sadly - and I just Googled it - still no public or professional body is looking to improve the standard of the actual individual conveyancer who does the legal work. Fix that and property deals will fly through.

From: Tim Higham 13 March 2018 22:23 PM

Tim Higham
Confidence of the public in the home moving process, and a sharp drop in abortive deals will be achieved by tackling THE biggest absurdity within the conveyancing part of the process - that any employee in a legal business can be badged as a conveyancer. They do not need to know a single bit of property law, or conveyancing procedure. When you have two excellent conveyancers opposite each other, deals fly through as they click their fingers and legal issues are instantly sorted, they have pace through confidence, and deals exchange - there is little time for deals to fall apart. But now add back into the mix - the reality in 2018 - the following 'conveyancers': 1. those who must have their files checked before exchange can happen!? 2. those where a different person handles a different part of the transaction, so you never know who to call 3. where their website offers no direct telephone or email for every single conveyancer 4. where the estate agent says they would love not to recommend them but their own HQ says they must as cash is trading hands 5. where only conveyancing is offered, they have no other lawyers specialising in all the other legal disciplines to address the impact conveyancing has on - wills, trusts, family, children, employment, disputes, litigation, personal industry, deputyship, 6. where they do not handle unregistered conveyancing, or charge the public more to handle it 7. those who are too small to offer cover for holiday or illnesses .....the list goes on and on. And is it surprising we have to read Reports such as this one: https://www.ftadviser.com/property/2018/02/14/hmrc-to-update-guidance-amid-stamp-duty-confusion/ How many transactions abort because of the above factors? How many members of the public faced a drawn out and stressful deal when it need not have been? How many legal defects now exist behind the residential properties in England & Wales? It is so bad we must spend 60% of our time chasing the other conveyancer, and we now warn clients when we face certain organisations, and types of conveyancers that they have to expect delay. Ludicrous to have to do that, but it proves true too often. So, please The Home Buying And Selling Group, please address the above as the biggest single factor - as you will see dramatic improvement to transaction speed, public delight with conveyancers, and confidence in the whole process. An easy win for anyone interested in making more than little steps.

From: Tim Higham 26 February 2018 22:06 PM

Tim Higham
(David Bennett - I agree with you on HIPs. No - don’t assume you need to register unregistered deeds if you are selling the property, ask your conveyancer as it is typically a waste of time and money. True, there are some law firms who alarmingly charge more for the lawyer to deal with unregistered deeds, but they rarely take longer to read through. I find them easier and more helpful than registered in so many cases as the Land Registry summarise deeds far to briefly or fail to identify the benefiting neighbouring properties well enough, or can ever lose scanned in documents. AND registering deeds now takes months and months, as the Land Registry are not prioritising first registrations. That has been the case for well over a year. Obviously first time buyers have little understanding of conveyancing. Why would they. How would they know what happens next after agreeing a price for a property. The conveyancer takes the baton from the estate agent role, and is then responsible for informing the buyer - as we do: http://bit.ly/2E9BQjH NO conveyancer I have heard of gets paid by the hour. All fixed fees.) I am not convinced Jonathan Williams has been reported correctly. And the article seems to be disjointed in what it is trying to say. And a whole article on such brevity of actual quotes from Mr Williams? I was nodding until Mr Williams is reported as having said anyone can set themselves up as .....and then I thought I was going to read "conveyancer"....as any law firm can employ their cleaner and badge them as a conveyancer. Fact. There is no regulation on WHO can be a conveyancer within a law firm. That makes the legal process what it is today - not great, not great at all. I agree Matt Faizey’s “underling” paragraph - far too commonplace. As is receipt of mortgage funds on the day of completion (who does that !?) Sadly the conveyancing ‘improvements’ on the horizon are red herrings; talk of modernisation, fancy IT, digitalisation - no talk, no talk at all, about the elephant in the room - the quality of the person tasked with the conveyancing. But for Mr Williams to reported as missing out the conveyancer entirely? Obviously Mr Williams has a point, there are bad estate agents out there BUT JUST AS there are bad conveyancers, mortgage advisers, surveyors', removers, etc etc. Crikey I read some anger, actual anger in some of the replies. I am sure people want better standards for conveyancers, and for estate agents, I sincerely do for conveyancers as 60-70% of every sale/purchase is taken up with me chasing down the performance of my counterpart. Worse than ever. Remember: 1. buyers and sellers almost always overlook agreeing a timescale when price is agreed. It is one of our first questions. They come to conveyancers without any idea what each other want, and it is invariably left for the conveyancers to try and broker that part of the deal. So we get clients agreeing dates far earlier and it is really helpful for a faster deal…as we have something to point to/embarrass a slow conveyancer with 2. conveyancers carry incredible career ending personal, and 'law firm closing' risk in every ...single ….purchase and sale file they handle. That fact is rarely understood by anyone chasing a conveyancer. 3. with fees as low as they are (which won’t change) conveyancers have no choice (even the best ones) none at all, but to look after 60-120 clients to make it viable to even offer a conveyancing service within a law firm - and all those clients are live, and any and all calling each and every day, and get piece of advice wrong, or miss an email and it really costs £000s in claims 4. many many houses sell themselves 5. estate agents have overheads that have to be paid for and working on a no sale no fee basis, whilst some sales are an easy commission, huge amounts off salaried time is wasted 6. no house sale has a ‘contracted time’. 1pm/2pm is only relevant to interest, nothing more. Completion takes place on the day…not by a certain time in the day….only by custom is it between 10am-3pm depending on the length of the chain, how busy the banks, and lawyers are with other customers. 7. conveyancers don’t choose a completion date, that is personal for the client, obviously. Exchange dates are rarely planned either. That date happens only when the chain is ready. 8. part time working is the modern age. Don’t get left behind with bias against that. Team work and cover can ably cater for part time workers…..but mangers - in nay business with part time workers - better ensure it happens. 9. too many estate agents want updates without offering anything back to the conveyancer in the legal process, so regrettably, they may face cold tones from the conveyancer they are calling (make it teamwork) 10. some of us conveyancers systematically provide weekly updates to estate agents and are known (and criticised by competitor firms) for cc’ing agents into emails so agents are always kept informed 11. sure, an estate agent and lawyer may be instructed at the same time to sell, and the agent never receives a call from the conveyancer to ask ‘so have you reported to my client about viewing, are you refreshing your right move photos etc’ BUT agents do not get paid until the conveyancer completes….so conveyancers need to realise Agents are calling not to be a pain, but to know when their weeks pop work will be paid. 12. make all deals - no sale no fee? a.. the lawyer gets a salary, they won’t care b. so few deals abort anyway c. already offered by many of the volume outfits with the worst reputation among conveyancers 13. work with the very best conveyancers (the better conveyancers will only work with the better estate agents) not the ones who pay the highest cash bung 14. Friday afternoon - notice which conveyancer emails the estate agent with a pre-weekend update on deals they have on? 15. Conveyancers have the most modern fast IT there is - email. But it is not used properly. Give a mediocre conveyancer the very best IT will mean....a mediocre conveyancer with the very best IT. I love my email, I love instant working, I love gadgets, I love Alex, Nest, anything made by Apple (pre 2014) but don't be fooled into thinking flashy IT and digitalisation: - will avoid conveyancers raising inane enquiries - will make a conveyancer analyse the legal papers/raise enquiries quicker than 2 weeks from receipt - will make a selling conveyancer ask for a mortgage repayment any quicker than the day of exchange - will make a conveyancer always ask for mortgage money by fax from the lender for a day before completion - will make a conveyancer spot a legal defect - will make the single solicitor supervising a conveyancing team walk any faster around the office to ‘prepare the file for exchange’ - will make the conveyancer any better trained in conveyancing and property law I really do hope the right 'stakeholders', and the right people, are all going to make the really needed improvements within the property market for the benefit of the home moving public.

From: Tim Higham 07 February 2018 22:23 PM

Tim Higham
1. Great idea, the more publication of errors the better. And do it for fall law firms who use the Land Registry. The data is there by definition. Those who make the most errors will be protesting, just you watch. 2. Fast exchange times. Bingo! We target a 4 week max exchange on all deals. The point in promoting it, is that everyone knows to watch out if Trethowans are acting, as you can expect to be pushed, as every single member of our conveyancing team get the bigger picture.....clients, estate agents and mortgage adviser are all looking to us - and every conveyancer - to achieve one thing - a fast exchange. And in the case of the client, as expertly and accurately as possible. So....no paralegals, no conveyor belt of multiple people looking after a single file, and certainly no poorly trained staff. That pyramid model is archaic, which we never followed, and certainly has no place in 2018. Instead, we pay higher salaries, as we demand expert conveyancers, with law degrees and/or serious experience who can make instant decisions, never having to wait for the only solicitor in the organisation to come past once a week to check if the file is right or wrong and sign it off. No daft enquiries to drag the deal into the mud. That sort of service will not do. If an estate agent calls, or a client, or mortgage adviser, our conveyancers know the file, as it is their file, and they tell in detail how it is, and what needs to be done. We know not all conveyancers like facing our pace, but frankly, be prompt and expert, and you'll understand why we enjoy our jobs, and why clients rate us as highly as they do.

From: Tim Higham 09 January 2018 22:02 PM

Tim Higham
(David Bennett - so true....and I miss HIPs as when properly produced, deals could fly...just like auction packs now...well actually the standard of those is very hit and miss) Andrew – please don’t lump conveyancers together, that’s the problem, they range dramatically in terms of quality from not fit for purpose, to seriously impressive. The worst I have seen it in 25 years. I have identified various reasons for mediocre conveyancers over the years to now: - poor legal training (no senior colleagues to learn from/ therefore no improvement even after years of doing the job) - no stake in the law firm, or real chances to climb the ladder, so no real drive to be excellent/go that extra mile - ineffective managers to train them - the early 2000 model of using cheaper paralegal staff, thinking they will be trained in-house, but work levels always prevent it - low salaries - senior managers imposing profit targets rather than ensuring quality is delivered - being allowed by their regulator to act on both sides - the massive amounts of referral fees paid to certain estate agents as “they just pay so much, we don’t care how rubbish they are at conveyancing”….so the law firm has no reason to improve quality and it gets worse And for me, directly linked to mediocre conveyancing is digitalization, fancy IT software bells and whistles, more electronic this and that - anyone arguing to keep referral fees of course - which all simply mask the real issue, the shoddy person actually behind the wheel. We already have instant IT.....called email....but conveyancers rarely use it promptly, sometimes weeks of waiting for a single email. The person is the problem. Improve the person/conveyancer, and Andrew Richardson, you might become a fan of conveyancers yet. Dynamic conveyancers on the other hand drive deals through by deliberately recruiting the very best legally trained conveyancers, who put service first, and profit a way off second – knowing service will attract profit. Who therefore have instant solutions to defects and are therefore confident to keep up a fast pace. These conveyancers are well paid, true, but because they generate lots of business, and they train a wider team in replicating this. They even hound slow lawyers. A win win. So, yes, mediocre conveyancers are an obstacle, and they delay deals, but we best be clear on what we mean by ‘delay’. Mortgage advisers can delay, mortgage companies can delay, mortgage valuers can delay, local government search departments can delay, surveyors are busy and can delay. And so can estate agents. How long do conveyancers get before it is considered a delay? Or should I ask - how long do estate agents get to sell the property before they are called slow/blamed for the timescale? Ironically, find me a conveyancer who has ever contacted an estate agent while the property is being marketed to say ‘hey, when can we expect to see the listing on Rightmove’ or ‘have you given viewer feedback to the seller’ or ‘when can we expect you to find a buyer so we can begin our conveyancing’. A bit of perspective on each others roles is therefore crucial to avoid unfair critique. The goal is to work together after all. Especially as – let’s be honest, who really understands the threat facing an individual conveyancer on EACH AND EVERY sale or purchase they handle? Scarily few. Threat? Yes, career ending, and law firm closing. If a conveyancer makes a mistake - and you can make 50+ per sale/purchase - the client will sue. How many things can an estate agent do wrong to get sued. Claims against conveyancers are high, and can and do range from £30 to £ms+. Millions!? From 'hey you didn’t secure an EPC’ or daft guarantee assignments, to ‘we have no legal access to our property/part of it is trespassing on a neighbour’s title'. Some seriously high compensation cash can be paid out to clients, and law firms will all have to foot the cost of the excess – running into tens of thousands in many cases even more - from their own pocket before PII might kick in, and that has to be found from pure profit......as does the hike next year in that firm’s cover…or maybe cover will not be offered - and a conveyancer being paid an average fee of £700 for 12 weeks of work isn't going to pay that excess very quickly. But also the individual conveyancer too. If a conveyancer makes a legal mistake, and compensation is paid out to a client, maybe happening twice, certainly three times, not only will that law firm think carefully about whether that person should keep their job, but those claims stay with that conveyancer making future jobs harder to secure, if at all. And all that risk for a £700 average conveyancing fee……and perhaps because …an estate agent had to secure their commission target by that end of month and kept nagging and nagging ‘Conveyancer B’ that they were at some kind of fault, when it was ‘Conveyancer S who had paid a massive referral fee, and was unable to do their job property and could not help to offer a speedy solution to Conveyancer B. It happens, too often. Recently I called another conveyancer to exchange contracts, and how they spoke, and how they audibly sounded disorganized gave me no confidence that their client had received decent defect-free conveyancing. I actually felt bad for their client. There are many of us conveyancers whose only reason for doing the job is to ensure the whole process to be defect free, and as prompt as it can be, so we look good, the referring estate agent looks good, and everyone tells all they know about both. That’s our model anyway. Never the fee. And I can tell you now, offering a ‘no completion no fee’ would make no difference to our standard whatsoever. A complete red herring to improving quality. Ironically, too many who I believe offer mediocre conveyancing, also offer no completion no fee. So yes, rid us of the mediocre conveyncers, but Paul you also need to rid your industry of poor practice. The Agents who simply call to say ‘can I have an update’ and offer nothing in return, or the Agents who do not vet buyers properly and so the deal never stands a chance of reaching exchange, or the agents who over value to secure business, rather than putting the customer first. Or who tie the public into long threatening contracts, or who fail to involve themselves in the legal process after an offer has been agreed. We actually promote agents on our website (with a new website on the way with far more) as there are some seriously good ones out there, and we like encountering new ones, ones who we can contact for help and vice versa, who know what we do, and they know we value their good way of working……so deals sale through.

From: Tim Higham 21 December 2017 23:29 PM

Tim Higham
Smile Please (anonymous) - It is a personal attack, as you do not clearly distinguish between some and all conveyancers, and you divert attention away from the estate agent. How many weeks/months does it take an estate agent to do their role.....to find a buyer? Actually, the critique is not so much the time it takes, but has there been any unnecessary delay/slowness. Curiously - and I may try it one day - when I am instructed at the same time as a property is placed on the market...how many times do you get a call from a conveyancer to say: "Can I have an update please?" "So, have you loaded up the Rightmove adverts? " "Have you given my client feedback on viewings?" "How much interest has there been this week?" "Not sure the offer is form a good enough buyer as...." Never, not once I bet. I would not dream of actually making such a call. Because it is your job, and you are meant to know best. You also can only work at the pace your other customers allow you to. But what I do know, is that there are slow Agents, just as we both know there are slow conveyancers. By the time we get given the deal to make legally sound, you may well have wasted months finding a buyer. So in both our own industries, we just need to make sure the Agent and the Conveyancer are the best they can be at what they do. Your ideas for a conveyancing firm - e.g increased price? It won't work, as the quality of your conveyancers' will let you down, every single time. As I bet you won’t employ quality. I bet you'll put profit first. You will need to buy work like the volume outfits do as it would not otherwise come to you - as......your ideas are nothing new. If we address my reasons above for why we have slow conveyancers, and slow Agents, then we really do get an improved home moving process.

From: Tim Higham 16 March 2017 21:41 PM

Tim Higham
Smile please - Rob's a class act, care to reveal who you are? Two things though: A. Chasing The Conveyancer: You are right in that conveyancers fire off a communication (a dialogue has to start somewhere after all) but .…you focus entirely on the wrong party. You actually encourage chasing, rather than focus on the ones who should not have to be chased! The mediocre/slow conveyancers. I suspect there are vast numbers of conveyancers like me, who spend 60% (that's right 60%!) of too many files chasing/doing the other conveyancers work, when they should respond promptly. Slow conveyancing? Why? 1. too many clients - because: a. they get their work by paying owning estate agnets, or paying huge backhanders to estate agents, the ones who only care about which conveyancers pay most, never about making sure the public also get a great legal service b. conveyancers offer the lowest fee in the home selling/buying process (despite carrying the greatest risk by far…career ending it is that risky) they have to make the maths work, and they have to act for many clients at one time. Most conveyancers have 60-100+sales/purchase active, and all could call on the same day….and most conveyancers can barely dedicate more than a few minutes to a client a day just to manage to keep up. 2. The conveyancers are so junior/they feel they have no self-worth in the organisation, and so they lack interest in promotion of the employer. Impressing the client, doing much more than 9-5. 3. The conveyancers are not trained well enough in property law / conveyancing law to be able to give instant answers, or even courage to reply, until they have to/an estate agent chases/a senior lawyer steps in 4. Not familiar enough with conveyancing procedures to be confident/fast enough 5. They dabble in conveyancing rather than have it as their bread and butter every day activity The Estate Agent: We work with impressive estate agents in Salisbury, and throughout the country. We even promote them on our website, and we keep adding to it. But too many Agents let their own side down too, just like slow conveyancers do as it is these Estate Agents who do not earn their big bucks to project manage the deal by chasing down the slow performing conveyancers. They give up once they have matched the buyer and seller. What use are they. They might call once every few weeks to ask for an update, sound disinterested when you tell them and then go back to sleep for another 3 weeks. Weeks can go by and they will not chase the slow lawyers……they put the deal together after all, and are dependent on the lawyers to get the deal done ……to get paid. So both Agents and Conveyancers should make sure we are doing our jobs 100% effectively else we better watch for signs of the formation around us of an ivory tower. B. Fit for service My gut was to retaliate at your 2017 comment, but I have been saying for some time that in my view, conveyancing standards are at their lowest in over 20 years. We constantly have daft portal or IT solutions proposed as some sort of cure, widespread agendas from memberships who need to look to their quality first, and yet not a single focus on the quality of the human being doing the legal work. Improve the quality of the conveyancer and you will vastly improve conveyancing, almost to the point where nothing else needs to happen. Too many vested interests/profiteers /leaches on the public’s wallet for that – unless someone brave steps in. However, Agents are not immune either, as the onset of online agents demonstrate. True, I would not recommend an online agent to a family member or friend, let alone a client, but the public think something is wrong with the traditional model, so again, Conveyancers and Agents must not be blinkered. Quality teamwork – Agents and Conveyancers. Let’s get the deals done!

From: Tim Higham 15 March 2017 22:07 PM

Tim Higham
CMA have it badly wrong here, and it makes me wonder where else they have it wrong, past and present. They immediately fuel the belief that conveyancing is a good, rather than a service. Service providers do not publish their charges, unless the service is absolutely routine (e.g an eye test, haircut, etc) as there are simply too many variables. If any conveyancer published their price, they are putting a square peg into a round hole and I question the respect that conveyancer has for their clients. Conveyancing transactions range wildly in their details and difficulty. And conveyancers range wildly in terms of quality - ranging from those who should be fired to those who are seriously good lawyers. We all start at a certain level of fee, then depending on the questions we have answered by the client, it may be lower fee, or a lot higher. What is the price, is it a new build, is it leasehold, how many mortgages, is there help to buy, are there currently legal defects, are there absent Council consents because the client did not realise they would need any for their building works, is there missing legal access to and from the property in some way, is some of the property used as domestic when it should be agricultural etc etc? We may also increase our fees if an estate agent or conveyancer from a list of shoddy ones are involved. Every conveyancer's regulatory body should resist the CMA as they have it wrong on this - badly wrong. The public will think that price is relevant to securing a good conveyancer, and it will surely cause law firms to compete on price reducing price and therefore quality to absolute rock bottom. Look at what is happening with estate agents. Their prices are dropping, and so is the quality the public are now receiving. We deliberately recommend the best estate agents and we pay no attention to their fee. Yet, the quality of conveyancers is already the lowest I have seen within the conveyancing market since I first started as one. CMA needs to abandon this idea as I feel it will hurt the public.

From: Tim Higham 18 December 2016 15:43 PM

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