When it comes to conveyancing there are certain fundamentals that will be craved by all stakeholders, whether they are the client, the adviser, the lender or the conveyancer themselves.
One of those is certainty – meaning that all parties provide the correct information which can ultimately be relied upon to get the case through to completion. The other is consistency – we all know that all cases are different and will progress at a different pace however, certainly when it comes to advisers’ recommendation of conveyancing firms, there is an expectancy that the level of service will be high regardless of the potential obstacles that might be encountered.
It is the latter aspect of conveyancing which, quite frankly, can be hit and miss depending on the firm you/your client uses. I have seen cases started with total enthusiasm and efficiency by the conveyancer in question, only to meet an obstacle and be left to wither on the vine by a firm which has neither the manpower, skill set or inclination to deal with these issues. When the brown stuff hits the fan you truly learn which firms are able to cope and work through the issues and which firms go missing in action.
This ability to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of conveyancing firms is an absolutely vital part of being a distributor and offering a panel of firms to advisers. The due diligence that we carry out on each individual firm is completely thorough and requires time and effort – we want to be certain that every conveyancer we offer to our users score highly across the board. In essence, what is the likelihood that they will let both the adviser and their client down? If it’s high, then we won’t entertain their inclusion.
There are also other important matters to be satisfied in today’s conveyancing marketplace. One of those is technology and the ability of firms to plug-in to our system and to work seamlessly with our portal. While many of the larger, tech-savvy firms can work this integration quickly, there will be others – and you might be surprised at how big some of these players are – who are effectively working their conveyancing cases as if it was the mid-1980s. Given where the advisory market is now, and the expectations of stakeholders when it comes to basic services like case-tracking, etc, that can’t be right. Again, it’s a major reason why we won’t progress with a particular firm.
Finally, going back to that major requirement: certainty – this time in terms of delivery. We want to work with, and offer up, firms who are able to tell us and the adviser/client exactly what is going to happen, and then (quelle surprise) keep their word. With advisers this is absolutely crucial – how often have you been in a position where you’ve told a client one thing, only to find out later that it wasn’t the case after all? To say this makes your service look bad, would be a complete understatement. We have always found that honesty pays, even if it’s not the information the adviser/client wanted to hear, at least they have the truth and can work and manage expectations based on this. Anything less than this is simply unacceptable.
So, when it comes to recommending a particular conveyancer, advisers need to be confident about who they are putting forward, what service they will supply, how they will interact with them, how they will update them, and ultimately how they will work to ensure the case completes within the required timescale. Oh and how they will react and approach cases which meet some bumps along the way. We endeavour to ensure that all our solicitor firms are up to these jobs and ultimately will make the whole process as smooth as possible for all concerned.
Harpal Singh is managing director of BrokerConveyancing.co.uk