Tuesday, 19 April 2011

What does conveyancing have in common with air traffic control?

Speed is at the forefront of most home movers’ minds.  They have decided to move, they have found a buyer and their only concern is to make sure they can take ownership of their new home by the next day. 

There is nothing wrong with this and I would be the first to admit that when I moved my mind was engaged with a similar thought. 

The difficulty this mind set causes however is when, as is happening more and more, this begins to impact on the relationship between client and lawyer.

I always tell my clients that until a transaction is underway it is hard if not impossible to estimate how long it will take to complete.  There are a multitude of problems that can crop up along the way.  Added to this is the difficulty a chain of transactions can cause when one has little control over the activities of others. 

For those paying by cash some of the delays can be avoided, but when there is a mortgage involved it is simply not possible to take short cuts, and despite claims of having to move in on a certain date to avoid sudden death, it is important to stand up to clients and make it known that sometime for very good reason it is not always possible to meet their expectations.

Often clients are so focused on the move that they become oblivious to the legal hurdles that need to be overcome to ensure the home they are buying or selling can be transferred without legal defect or other issues that could affect their enjoyment of the property.   Managing expectation is what a good conveyancing lawyer knows well; providing a balance between service and speed is the key.

In our conveyancing department we take care to keep clients informed and have recently introduced a very simple but effective case management system (www.quickconveyance.com) designed (in house) to allow the client to gain online access to documents and journal notes. It also allows selling agents to track progress online. 

It has been well received and has led to a cut in telephone enquires from both clients and agents.

Handling a large number of transactions is akin to bringing in aeroplanes at a busy airport, providing there are good organisational skills and IT systems, there should be no difficulty in making sure transactions can complete speedily without the fear of crash landing. 

Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

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