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Should lawyers be allowed to take holidays?

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Thinking about Jon Snow’s concerns in Game of Thrones that “winter is coming” brought to mind an issue that arises in the summer months and drives terror into the hearts of even hardened agents. This issue is typically revealed after a call to a conveyancer for a case update elicits the following response: “I am sorry but the lawyer on that case is on holiday.” Now, we’re not saying lawyers shouldn’t take holidays. Frankly, given the fractiousness we’ve experienced from our counterparts recently, some of these keyboard warriors could do with a bit of time away to relax. However, the way lawyers...
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“Technology? That’s for kids, not Conveyancers”

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If you’ve not actually said it, you’ve no doubt thought it: “most lawyers are slow and inefficient.” We don’t disagree, but the burning question is, “why?” Typically, it’s because of a historically sceptical attitude towards the benefits of technology and how it is implemented. Businesses are underpinned by the quality of their technology, and if people saw how law firms typically use it, they’d start to understand why their service levels are often so appalling. Our experience of speaking to and hiring lawyers from a range of firms give us an insight into how they are run and their sheer...
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Boris was right – it’s all about control

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Last month, we were challenged to write about the wider issues faced by the house buying public rather than just those suffered by “whining conveyancers”.  To be fair, lawyers are known to whine.  It’s usually because they work in old-fashioned environments with ludicrously high caseloads and constantly ringing telephones caused by a complete lack of understanding of service provision. We really didn’t need the government to run an enquiry into what is wrong with the buying and selling process.  Budget-starved Whitehall could have saved a fortune by popping into a couple of estate agents, called a few lawyers and carried...
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“Buckle up, we’re going to be experiencing some turbulence”

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It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn towards summer holidays with travel to warmer climates, freedom and a break from damp mornings, train malfunctions and buyers changing their minds because, well, just because. Of course, all the excited anticipation of the holiday is somewhat tempered by the pilot’s announcement on first boarding the plane that “in the event of an emergency, you’ll need to adopt the brace position”. Which is timely advice for agents right now with the latest Sunday announcement from the Housing Secretary Sajid Javit, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-professionalise-the-estate-agent-market who seems intent of ruining any agent’s carefree holiday plans....
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“Honestly, why does conveyancing take SO long?”

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It was Michael Gove, who famously said “I think that the people of this country have had enough of experts” but when it comes to those expressing opinions about why house buying and selling is so slow, we have to agree. As a company deep in the muck and bullets of the residential conveyancing front-line, we’re bemused by the opinions expressed by those armchair generals viewing the battle through their rose-tinted telescopes on comfy sofas.  They come from all walks of life – government, trade bodies, consumer watchdogs and even those panel managers that make such an invaluable contribution to...
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Can a solicitor REALLY affect the outcome of a deal?

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When we’re talking to agents, our favourite question is “what do think makes a good solicitor?” Most normally say “someone I can always get hold of” or “someone who can get deals through”. This presents a challenge for agents to ensure their clients and buyers actually do choose the best solicitor.  Given that every deal seems more challenging than the last, understanding how things can go wrong is a useful way to help explain to clients that their choice of solicitor may determine whether a transaction succeeds, or fails. In the past, solicitors could be confident that mistakes could be...
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It’s all about exchange. Obviously.

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We spend a lot of time talking to estate agents and the most common feedback we get is that they are frustrated by how long deals are taking, the difficulty involved and fall-through rates. The actual figure for the number of deals that fail is understandably difficult to pin down – it’s not something an agent will want to publicise. Indeed, the recent accusations about the completion rates of “online-only” agents definitely has a whiff of glass houses and stones about it. When the government published their highly ambitious consultation last year, outlining their plans to “fix the broken housing market”...
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New government initiative – are they trying to solve the wrong problem?

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We knew that the government were going to look into the house buying and selling process, so we weren’t surprised to see it hit the headlines this morning on the BBC. However, we were a little bit disappointed to see the focus on “gazumping”, a problem, that frankly, we see very little of these days.  Ask any estate agent about issues caused by buyers fighting over properties, and you’ll see a look of wistful wonderment as they try to remember the last time this issue raised it’s ugly head. Suffice to say, the problems with the house buying and selling...
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Donald Trump for President – that would be mad!

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We thought that the prospect of The Donald becoming president of the United States was the ultimate in madness until we were sent a price list from a panel manager the other day. Maybe we’ve got little too much self-respect, but when the proportion of a legal fee going to the referrer is higher than that going to the lawyer, something is not right with the world. Given that agents know that low fees are not good for any industry (especially theirs) we’re amazed that people still use such organisations. Although “Additional Revenue Streams” is a common mantra these days,...
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