One of the biggest challenges facing solicitors, particularly those in conveyancing, is taking a risk.
Conveyancing is regularly identified as one of the highest-risk parts of the practice by our insurers… with a correspondingly sizeable professional indemnity insurance premium!
One of the biggest frustrations of consumers of legal services is the failure of professionals to properly advise them on the practical and commercial aspects of the home moving process, not just the legal aspects.
I think too many practitioners are reticent to “go out on a limb” and properly advise their clients for fear of upsetting the delicate dynamic of a property transaction.
So why not be professional experts and provide clients with the benefit of your experience?
Take chains as an example. With chains being one of the most common reasons for the breakdown of property transactions, costing the industry £m’s each year in lost revenue, why do we put up with so many lengthy chains?
Do we, as advisors, need to be more bullish in advising about breaking chains up?
There is a lot of emphasis on getting properties, and their vendors, “sale ready.” Could we take it to more of an extreme and advise vendors that they should be prepared to vacate and break any chain?
Equally, could buyers be advised to be in a stronger position to buy… could they be advised to have sold their property, consider renting short term, and/or have a mortgage in principle prior to offer.
Breaking the chain
Breaking these chains may become even more critical over the next few months as there is a ticking time bomb coming in terms of the SDLT holiday. Also the challenging jobs market is going to have a knock-on effect on the property market.
If there is a chain of more than 2 in a transaction, bearing in mind how long transactions can take, then the chance of one in the chain losing their jobs, or having to take a pay cut, move elsewhere etc could be quite high.
If a chain breaks down in November suddenly everyone is under pressure to resell quickly enough to ensure completion before 31st March 2021!
The bottom line
Whether we think we have the responsibility or not, the reality is that for so many people moving home is not a regular occurrence and they need hand-holding through the process. We should embrace this role, make sure home movers understand how problematic chains are.
Ultimately, where there is a choice of buyers the seller should be advised not just to go with the highest price but with the less encumbered buyer.
If you’re interested in reading more about the property market and conveyancing, head over here.