Anyone who has bought a house for the first time, or even on subsequent occasions, will know what that feeling is like when you view somewhere you want to buy, you put your offer in and (glory be) it’s accepted. Getting onto the property ladder can take an age these days and there’s no guarantees that just because you have the necessary deposit that a) you’re going to find somewhere you actually want to buy, and b) you’re going to make it through the entire process.
However, for those do have offers accepted there tends to be a feeling of jubilation followed by, ‘What happens next?’ The post-offer period for most buyers, particularly first-timers, is a complete mystery and one that at times may seem archaic, confusing and downright frustrating in equal measure. I have had friends and colleagues who are often staggered at the way some house price purchases progress and the speed (or rather lack of it).
Of course, the good news for your clients is that you are involved in that process and are in a perfect position to provide that support and information about ‘what happens next?’ I know for a fact that purchasers fully appreciate having an adviser who firstly, can recommend a conveyancing specialist, and secondly, can act as that middle-man or woman in terms of keeping them in the loop, smoothing out any potential problems and generally providing comfort and peace of mind that the process is actually moving forward.
The problem of course in most purchase transactions is that, especially when in a long chain, even the most efficient and focused conveyancer is often brought down to the level of the worst. This is why we recommend the larger conveyancing specialists who do this day-in, day-out because ultimately they have better knowledge of the market and are able to work through potential problems quickly. Compare this with your high-street, family firm who may only conduct a handful of cases a month, perhaps a year; who have one person working on cases who might well only do this for half of their working day. The fact is this is probably not a priority for them and they would much rather be working on other, higher fee earning work.
Now explaining this to a client can be tricky especially if you’ve not made any conveyancing recommendation. ‘Why didn’t you point us in the right direction?’ might come the reply. ‘If you knew this was a likely problem, couldn’t you have recommended a specialist firm?’ might be another retort. The good news is that no adviser need ever place themselves in such a position because it is now so simple to provide that service with very little effort or resource required. Even if the client chooses to go elsewhere at least they are not able to come back and blame you for any future delays.
It takes very little for an adviser to spell out all the good reasons why a client should be using conveyancer A over conveyancer B. Indeed, you might think that if a client is accepting your advice, and trusting you over their mortgage finance needs, then it is not going to need a lot of persuasion to get them to trust you over all their other house purchase-related requirements. Again, it will also mean you can be at the heart of that transaction, keeping a level of control, and ultimately supporting your client through a process which can be somewhat baffling for many.
To my mind, delivering conveyancing advice is providing the client with another reason why they needn’t go anywhere else. Why should they have to go looking for other professionals’ help from which they may never ultimately return? The point is to give them every reason to return to you time and time again, and for them to tell everyone they know about why they should be doing the same. On such service quality hugely successful businesses are built.
Harpal Singh is managing director of BrokerConveyancing.co.uk