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Brokers should pressure conveyancers to smooth completion process – Beth Rudolf

by: Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association (CA)
  • 29/10/2018
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Brokers should pressure conveyancers to smooth completion process – Beth Rudolf
For all of us involved in the house purchase process, there is no better moment than completion, particularly if it’s been a stressful journey in getting there.


But sometimes for the home mover, that is not the end of the stress – a mishap on the day of completion can be the icing on a cake laced with frustration, mistrust and uncertainty.

Which is why the Conveyancing Association (CA) is all for cutting down on the level of uncertainty that so often comes with a property transaction.

Specifically, this is around completion day which – if it goes wrong – can end up with your client sat outside a property indefinitely wondering whether or not they’re going to get inside.

Many in the industry will have tales of calamitous completions and it’s our job to ensure these are kept to an absolute minimum.


Pressure conveyancers

One way advisers can pressure conveyancers to eradicate some of that completion day uncertainty is to ask that they request the mortgage funds and any balancing payments from their clients at least one day before legal completion.

A number of conveyancing firms do this, but unfortunately not all do.

This is still somewhat surprising because, without choosing to do this, there is a much greater pressure placed on the client because there is so little time to play with.

Surely it is in the best interests of the client to offer as certain a completion as possible and of less concern is the negligible additional interest on the mortgage?

Indeed, we know these funds-related problems are often the cause of issues on completion day, so we wrote into our Strategic Plan to improve the house-purchase process, a specific workstream on getting more conveyancing firms to adopt a practical approach to completions.


Certainty in completion

Out of this has come our Conveyancer’s Code for Completion, which goes a step further so that mortgage funds arrive two days before completion.

This will enable the completion monies to be passed up the chain the day before completion and held to order to be released at an agreed time across the chain on the day of completion.

By doing this we put a far greater degree of certainty into the process so that the client knows they’ll be legally entitled to the keys to the property on, or before, 2pm on that completion day.

Less than a year ago we had the very first completion of a transaction taking place under that code which, perhaps unsurprisingly, was facilitated by two CA member firms, Convey Law and Attwells Solicitors.

I’m pleased to say that many other members have adopted the code for all appropriate transactions. Again, it delivers far greater peace of mind, particularly for the client, and dials down some of the inevitable stress that will be felt.


A simple change to make

There is further good news around a wider adoption of such practices because just this month the Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC) called for all firms to request all the necessary funds/monies by at least the day before completion.

The representative body says too many firms are still requesting funds to arrive on completion day, which, as I’ve highlighted, can slow down the time to complete and heap stress on all concerned.

The SLC is quite right to point out that where there is a lengthy chain of properties to be completed, the chances of something going wrong in terms of requesting funds is that much higher.

However, if the money is already in for the entire chain – at least the day before – then this is one less thing to worry about.

So, for advisers, even if it might mean your client paying an extra day’s mortgage interest, there are clearly benefits to having them serviced by conveyancing firms who request funds early as a matter of course.

Either you, or the client, can ask the firm if they follow the Conveyancer’s Code of Completion and if not, then why not?

It’s a simple change to make, a simple request to make, and could mean all the difference in creating a positive home moving experience for all.


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