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Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
Director - Property Searches Direct - Delivering Get Legally Prepared solutions for Agents
1451  Profile Views

About Me

Committed to speeding up property transactions.
Beautiful wife and three children, two dogs, one cat, one fish and a motorbike or three.

my expertise in the industry

Started in Estate agency in 1993 with General Accident Property Services in Southampton before heading to London and working for Ludlow Thompson and then Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward. Then in 2001 worked across Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire with independent Estate Agency brands.
Worked at Move with Us as a Property Consultant, legal network development manager and Probate Legal Network development manager from 2007 to 2015 before heading in to the Search Industry with PIE/PSG.
Now established as an independent National Supplier of Searches and related reports for Home Movers delivering to Solicitors and recently, Home Movers Direct. We are determined to look at ways to speed up the conveyancing process and not have Searches as the reason for a sale not to exchange sooner. Searches will no longer be the excuse that people can hide behind.

Daniel's Recent Activity

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
I do wish everyone would appreciate that people and businesses are doing what they can to survive. It seems amazing that in a feast some businesses can starve by being bogged down with too much volume, staff struggling with mental illness, being unable to get on with the work for having to keep up with updates to third parties that distract from getting things done, feeling that the only option is to buy in more staff that ultimately puts them at risk of not being able to cover the wage bill if not enough transactions complete.... it goes on, but it is happening. There still remains a viscous undertone that has to stop for the sake of everyones health and wellbeing. There needs to be far more compassion and belief that people do care about getting the job done and are likely working far longer hours than are appreciated. IF a business wishes to increase fees in the hopes of slowing down some demand, so what? This is not a new trend, it is sensible and has been happening for decades. Agents are always asking about how they can increase their fees and market share. Cake and eat it. This firm is asking for higher fees and less market share, so that they can survive. No one should frown on that and it should certainly not be sensationalised or cause for a heated discussion. Agents and conveyancers need to have more open and honest discussions and build relationships built on trust and understanding of each others businesses, procedures, struggles and successes. Better collaboration will afford wins for both Agent and Conveyancer.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 27 May 2021 09:09 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 24 May 2021 11:29 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 11 May 2021 09:10 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 19 March 2021 14:10 PM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
IF Estate Agents did more to package up sale transaction better AND conveyancers were actually left alone to do their job, things would be much less stressful. The property industry still fails to believe that a conveyancer left alone is far more capable than one being chased all day and being held accountable for the updates to agents rather than their ability to get a file progressed. I know, let's employ a bank of sales progressors to make even more noise and promote self importance when the work is actually being done by someone qualified to do it, or not because they are not being left alone long enough to do so. Everyone, get a grip, stop throwing stones in your glass houses and see what can be done to make things better rather than blaming everyone!! it is getting very tiresome and, more importantly, the bickering and blaming is doing nothing to help the home mover, which more than one person has heralded as being the most important party. SO what are YOU actually doing to change things? From a suppliers point of view, those that are shouting the most vitriol are the ones less likely to adopt any change because they believe that there is nothing more that they can do, despite there being plenty that they could have done. This perfect storm is showing the cracks and those acknowledging them and becoming capable of change and diversification to benefit clients and shorten SSTC timescales will prevail. Those that continue to shout and blame are not welcome to survive. I am very pro estate agent, but even more pro 'best practice'.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 20 February 2021 12:37 PM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
We have more Vendors coming to us via Google asking how they can speed up transactions and become better prepared than we have agents asking the same. Some clients are now emailing their agents asking why they were not offered our services months ago...which I'll bet is embarrassing. Agents need to pay attention and get more involved as the market is demanding better and leading the way. We have been imploring agents for months to be aware of the car crash that is coming and, in effect, giving seat belts and airbags away to reduce the impact, but only a few agents have actually taken it seriously. Deadlines always exists and not all can be negotiated away. To better prepare your market to start hitting deadlines has to be the way forward. IF sales are better packaged, conveyancers can work smarter and get more cases through in a shorter period of time to warrant how much they are getting paid per file. Engage with getting people legally prepared and adopt digital technology to store documents that are pertinent to the sale. The Property Industry needs to aspire to become a property profession. We still engage with too many agents and influencers who see the value in what we offer but choose to do little or nothing about it. Thankfully our model is set up to engage directly with home movers themselves but this leads to them feeling let down by their agent. We are a massively pro agent business and it simply saddens us to hear home movers being let down by not being offered every tool available to them to hit deadlines, not just the SDLT cliff edge.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 16 February 2021 08:37 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
Wow. The usual comments I see, omitting to read all the way through and get hung up on the politics rather than the details of transactional challenges. Shame that not only are conveyancers under significant pressure to get transactions through, but now they must manage expectations too. I saw an estate agents last week still advertising that now was a great time to sell to take advantage of the SDLT relief in an area that takes 54 working days to get Building Regs data from the local authority. 54 working days from today is 6th April and given that, on average, it takes a conveyancer around 6.5 weeks to place an order, there is not a hope in hell. But I'll bet they are banging deals together and getting everyone excited about their move ahead of the deadline, clogging up the system even further and fuelling the flames. Putting the democratic debate aside, which does have some validity, these are unprecedented times and things cannot continue as 'normal'. There is much to learn and much for the estate agency community to take on board about how they can package up sales to alleviate the burden on the legal communities. You can either keep throwing it at the wall and hope it sticks or you can glue it up there. Get legally Prepared is a phrase that Estate Agents have heard of but very few have done anything about with their clients, yet. So for the time being, let's just assume that there will be no extension and that you have to get your pipelines through, what can you do to help, other than shouting at people and apportioning blame? Have you delivered a recognised ID/AML report, have you got your vendors to complete all of their legal protocol forms ready for the sale, where vendors have not bought searches are you showing your buyers where to buy them from immediately? If not, why not? All are readily available to buy direct to your clients online 24/7. If deadlines need to be hit, roll up your sleeves, re-educate and help make a difference. Help prioritise your pipelines honestly into SDLT critical and not SDLT critical and share that list with the lawyers. Inform the rest of your pipeline that as they are not dependent on SDLT they will, for the moment, have to wait for others who might be penalised significantly. Have the conversations, don't hide from them. Every little change in behaviour will help now and help to shape the future of the property market.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 20 January 2021 09:23 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
I believe that the biggest concern is just how many sales were set up and agreed with a fairly laissez faire attitude towards how realistic the timeframe was to be. Putting a SSTC board up and leaving client expectation management down to the legal profession. I know that many estate agents will be saying, "it wasn't our fault it was the conveyancer that let you down" when if they take a step back they will realise just how much they failed to do for their clients to actually hit targets....and I don't mean shout at conveyancers louder or more frequently. Only doing viewings with buyers that can prove they can afford or get their finance with a lender, ensuring that vendors have completed as much of the legal paperwork at the point of going to the market as possible and using marketing time to amass relevant paperwork for the conveyancer (all of which is left until post sstc usually), get searches underway at the earliest opportunity and NOT rely on the conveyancer to do it for the client (as that loses at least 6 weeks on average), ensure that an appropriate ID/AML report is attained for the client at the start of the relationship so that the exercise did not have to be repeated 3 or 4 times during the transaction and working in 'collaboration' with the legal profession rather than against it. The brightest or most amenable to change estate agency businesses will learn lessons and adapt their processes to help improve the property market in England and Wales, the rest will eventually become visibly out dated, unsupportive and archaic in the eyes of the home mover. Which are you?

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 15 January 2021 09:30 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 13 January 2021 11:30 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 13 January 2021 10:01 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
I sense some real frustration in this article and I am not surprised. Estate agents tend to work in bubbles, the valuer is incentivised to win instructions and doesn't care if it sells (in many instances), the sales teams are motivated to get up their sold board and stroke their ego's and then it is all up to the sales chaser to bank the money. Not many businesses have someone taking the time and looking at what might benefit all parts and do something about it. The sales progress teams frustrations can probably be fixed by better preparation of vendors by the valuer, however, the valuer is likely too scared to push their luck by offering a broader solution to clients out of fear of breaking the instruction. They are quick to get in the car and punch the air with another win. Change is for the brave business owners prepared to drive it. There are not as many of those as you might think as many are to busy cheering on the individual parts rather than looking at the big picture. Too many businesses did not take any thinking time during the first lockdown when the market was forced to shut and now they have reverted to tradition just to keep their heads above the water. It is frustrating to see, but I can empathise with their position. I would urge the progressive firms to take a look above the parapet and see whether there is something that they could be implementing to enable them to retain or gain market share when things get tough next year.... as it is very likely to be a tough 2021.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 02 December 2020 13:03 PM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
The market will always have people that need or want to move home. A price fall only really affects those with minimal equity and those wishing to completely extract themselves from the market. Anyone selling in a dip, will also buy in a dip, so will make up the inevitable percentage increase on their next purchase, and, if they have moved up the ladder, it will be a percentage of a larger amount. Unfortunately, any talk of a fall in prices or a slowing down of the market ends up being a 'self-fulfilling prophecy' that effects the industry that started the rumours. Se here's an idea, stop trying to predict the future or grab headlines with talk of what might happen and focus on the here and now and what is happening. Focus on the needs of the market with rationality and common sense. Prepare home movers as best you can for their move by doing what is right, check affordability and help people to find a property that suits their needs and way of life, as I bet much of that has changed over recent months. Not every homeowner needs to take a short term investment view on where they live. If a small dip enables the first time buyers to have access to more property it will drive movement not inhibit it. Unfortunately the market has always made noise surrounding price that is appropriate for the short term investor or quick turnaround developer, but the vast majority of the market is NOT them. So don't talk it down, celebrate the stock that you are fortunate enough to win and ensure that it is priced according to the affordability of the buyers registered with you. No one knows that market better than the estate agent working in it. They set the prices and if they have set them according to peoples budgets and affordability, a market will always exist.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 29 November 2020 15:26 PM

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From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 16 November 2020 15:12 PM

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From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 16 November 2020 12:29 PM

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From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 16 November 2020 11:13 AM

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From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 16 November 2020 10:12 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
I believe that you should take that table with a pinch of salt as it actually looks better than it should in some areas and worse than it should in others. Some areas, considered to be Birmingham are severely challenged with getting data for planning and building regs which are causing significant delays. Anyone buying within the M6 Toll regions whose building regs data sits at Lichfield will have a massive issue hitting the deadline. I would also add that if you price a property 'to sell' in Peterborough, it will sell, and search results are returning within 6-8 working days, so I wouldn't write it off there at all. But I suggest the Caveat is the term "& secure a Premium Price". If vendors and buyers are motivated to complete and do all they can to speed things up many areas still stand a chance. Everything comes down to price. The table says a big red no for Westminster, but everything has a price. Searches in that Borough are taking 5 - 8 working days and IF someone wanted to sell and priced it in an attractive manner (may not get the premium price), of course it would sell and stand a chance of completing in time. Don't tell me I couldn't Sell a 3 bedroom flat in Victoria Street SW1H for £1m and not complete before the deadline. Timescales are price sensitive and property CAN create their own demand if motivated to do so. Trouble is, all too many are not doing all they can. Too many vendors on the market without having completed their protocol forms, instructed a conveyancer to check title or ordered searches for their prospective buyers to speed things up. Join our mailing list for Search return timescales on our website or via our Trade Directory Page under 'Property Searches' here on E.A.T. and see how we can help you and your transactions. We don't just deliver Searches to support transactions.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 04 November 2020 08:49 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 28 October 2020 10:52 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
Your comment does bring to life the true issue with agents needing information. IF they are not provided with an answer within the timeframe that they believe is reasonable, they email again and then again. IF you can imagine what that volume looks like when you times your emails by the amount of transactions they are handling surely you can see that you are exacerbating an already problematic situation, which is going to get worse by your actions. This is how Conveyancers are invariably treated and then everyone screams at them asking why they take so long.....is because they are dealing with high volumes of transactions and even higher volumes of people hounding them for information to see if they are doing their job.....which of course they are. Just imagine how stressful the situation would be on the receiving end of those emails when all you want to do it your job. It must be like being micromanaged by everyone, every minute of the day and it must be hell. If anyone needs meditation it is a conveyancer, but they are not afforded the time to do it as they are too busy doing their job, explaining to people that they are doing their job and still getting beaten up for it. Everyone needs to get involved with getting buyers and sellers better prepared for a move so that all parties are better informed and more aware of what is happening. There is much of a conveyance that can be self help. Change needs to happen and, in time, will happen, and the stress levels will be reduced significantly. I am in favour of looking after mental health, but would rather see more action in alleviating the causes of stress for anyone involved in the house moving process, rather than working out how to fix it once it manifests itself.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 22 October 2020 09:50 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
Hi Andrew don't be perplexed. Let's address a few of your comments. Searches are NOT a part of a conveyancers work, it is a job that traditionally they have had to take on as it has been seen as a Dark Art by the industry. The reality is that the Searches are paid for by the buyer, the information contained is highly vital to the home buyer and yet ordering them is delayed because the conveyancer has been ordering for them. A conveyancer will wish to receive full instructions and signed client care letters, they will wish to take a client through a full ID/AML check before they can even touch taking funds, let alone spending money. They will also wish to request a contract pack and at some point receive one, before they will consider spending their clients money on Searches. We are giving the buyers the opportunity to buy them Direct. Use our Hazard Checker service to determine the most appropriate pack, place the order online and start receiving the reports. This shows absolute commitment from the buyer, brings the return of Searches Timescale forward for the conveyancer, and you the estate agent can stop chasing for them. We provide Estate Agents with branded literature to email buyers along with the memo of sale to encourage them to take control and order their Searches immediately to avoid delays. What's not to like about that? It's NOT doing the conveyancers job, it's delivering informed choice to the buyer as part of your service. You don't have to order it for them, they do it themselves. YAY! I know many Conveyancer who are currently working 7 days a week and very long hours so I would be very mindful of your comments on that front. They may stop answering the phones, but after hours is invariably the only time they can get the lawyering done without people chasing them to see if they are doing the lawyering. You have two choices. Be a complaining bystander, see no changes and reap no rewards, or get involved in the parts where you can make an affective difference and help people to move. I am a firm believe in a collaborative conveyancing environment where, if you can help to get closer to the goal, you do so. Are you in or out?

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 21 September 2020 09:36 AM

Daniel Hamilton-Charlton
Hi Philip, I agree that collusion is wrong but believe that it was likely driven by the fact that each of those agents believed that they had nothing more to give and that there was nothing to differentiate them. So many agents believe that it’s all about winning the instruction and, unfortunately in this market, it is. It’s a land grab because property will sell itself, within reason. I don’t believe that the job stops when a sale is agreed and that it is an agents job to start screaming at solicitors to speed things up. We launched a Search Solution offering the ability for buyers to get their Searches underway at the point a purchase is agreed. A buyer who pays for their Searches is committed to that property. A buyer who gives the name of a solicitor for a memo is not necessarily. Which agents in your area are proactively asking buyers to buy they Searches on day one of a sale being agreed? There’s a differentiation for you. Given that 4 out of the top 10 additional enquiries raised by conveyancers post receipt of a mortgage offer could be answered at the point of valuation if a local authority search was provided to the surveyor at the time. That would save time in the conveyancing process too. Anyone spearheading that in your area? That’s another differentiation for an agent. The focus at the moment should be banking money, at whatever level, to prevent fall throughs and positive pipeline management. Anyone talking about that at a valuation or is it all about fees? I set up my business to support positive behaviours and shorten exchange timescales with little changes to practices. They make a difference and provide some agents with a differentiation from their competitors who are too busy doing what they’ve always done to change. They’d rather just collude over fees or debate about which is the best fee structure. The client wants a sale at a good price with an agent offering a competent, comprehensive service from instruction to completion.

From: Daniel Hamilton-Charlton 11 September 2020 21:12 PM

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