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Conveyancers do not solely exist to annoy brokers and their clients – Smee

by: Paul Smee, executive chair of the Conveyancing Association
  • 24/08/2018
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Conveyancers do not solely exist to annoy brokers and their clients – Smee
I am pleased to be back writing to the mortgage market, this time from a rather different perspective in my new role as executive chair of the Conveyancing Association (CA).


When I stepped down from the Council of Mortgage Lenders last summer as it became part of UK Finance I was not expecting to appear on the pages of Mortgage Solutions anytime soon, but life often provides you with opportunities that are too good to miss.

While I do not expect mortgage advisers to be immersed in the depths of the conveyancing process, there will be times when your clients will turn to you for words of wisdom about what is going on.

And of course we all need to be aware of what is happening in another part of the extensive forest which comprises a housing transaction.

Only by this route will we be able to maximise the value that we all offer our clients.


Conveyancers do not exist only to annoy brokers

The relationship between all stakeholders can often seem a little edgy and I suspect advisers will have plenty of horror stories to tell about their dealings with conveyancing firms over the years. And, let’s be honest, I bet there are horror stories the other way as well.

That said, it should be clear that conveyancers do not solely exist to annoy brokers and their clients, and despite certain opinions to the contrary, our member firms do want to provide a quality service and get the clients through to exchange or completion as quickly as possible.

At the CA we believe this is possible but sometimes the system works against us.


Need for upfront information

We’ve been fighting on multiple fronts to ensure that certain areas benefit from improvements in technology to cut down on, for example, duplication of ID checks, or securing the necessary searches, as well as having much easier access to information upfront to reduce the time to pull all the required documents together.

That latter goal inevitably brings up the HIP (Home Information Pack) term, and I’m conscious already that within government circles – and beyond – there is strong opposition to any return of the pack.

However, some of the fundamentals that drove their introduction remain sound and as a trade body we are keen to see the introduction of far better upfront information in whatever form, preferably comprising a digital home report.

Many purchasers – particularly in the leasehold sector – bemoan the lack of upfront information they received and there are undeniable benefits to prospective purchasers having that information to make informed decisions before they get too far down the purchase route.


Improve conveyacing process

Overall, it will be the technology that drives us forward.

The digital age is here and it’s our view that we have wide agreement on the updates and upgrades that can be made to the conveyancing process which will make all our lives that much easier.

Advisers and intermediaries will continue to be a focal point for all those going through this experience.

Again, as so often is the case, my message has to be around finding better ways to work together in order to deliver the outcomes we all want for clients.

The CA’s aim is to develop and improve the conveyancing process and I suspect few in the intermediary sector would argue against this.

The further good news for us all is the commitment we have from the government in this cause.

It’s not often been the case but there is a genuine desire to improve transaction times and to oversee a steep drop in failed ones – that will be good for all of us and we’ll certainly be working with all stakeholders to make sure we get this job done.



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