Property lawyers ‘can’t find any estate agents willing to work in an up-front info way’

I took the questions and comments raised recently by Property Industry Eye readers back to the Home Buying and Selling Group – Information up Front (sub group). The questions and our replies are available by clicking here.

Here is one response I received last week from a BLG member firm: “We work with a couple of agents around here serving the top end of the market. They refer to me and another local solicitor (no referral fees) on the basis that we prepare what they like to call an ‘exchange ready’ pack. It works really well, and some sellers opt for a Local Search to be included on the basis that the cost is recovered from the Buyer down the line.”

A number of property lawyers have said they can’t find any estate agents willing to work in a up-front info way, and a number of agents have said they can’t find any property lawyers to do so either.

In an effort to try to marry up the willing firms I intend setting up a panel of law firms that are keen to be instructed when a property is first marketed. I already have 40 firms lined up and expect that number to increase significantly over the coming weeks.

There will be no charge to be on the panel and no charge to access it. I will let PIE know when it is up and running.

As has been reported recently, getting from listing to completion is getting longer and longer, and something needs to be done. Getting lawyers instructed earlier and obtaining information (however much or little) pre offer and acceptance is a straightforward and easy way to do something different.

As a certain automobile manufacturer once said: “If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got.”

I need to renew the skin on my drum now, it’s looking very battered.

Homesearch EOS

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  1. JonnyBanana43

    Brilliant idea – I would recommend all my clients do this.

    As an agent I also recommend that clients or buyers get three quotes and choose the most expensive.

    what have you done to overcome the obvious problems? Don’t searches only have a three month shelf life? Wouldn’t a mortgage company want their client to do their own searches?

    1. Rob Hailstone

      Please see the replies in the artcle further down JonnyBanana:
      Upfront information in the home moving process – frequently asked questions
      Even if searches arent included for a while, bringing the other parts of the process forward will help.

  2. tim main

    Rob.  We have a number of agents using our PIP Vaults to give their selling clients somewhere to collate and store their property documents from the data of instruction.  There seems a willingness from the agents side so I will contact you to see if we can link the agents and conveyancers together in any way.  tjhm

  3. Matthew Joy

    Thanks for the second leg of this article Rob, it is sad to see that there are some people/organisations trying with some considerable enthusiasm to simply make things better for everyone, but there is just so little effort put in by the majority…..which leaves us all in a position where things simply stay the same.

    You know we are with you, keep banging that drum!

    1. Tyana

      The fact that both sides feel as if the other is not willing or capable of meeting in the middle says a lot about the industry on a whole.

      My company is trying to bridge that gap and I can tell you from dealing with both Estate Agents and Property Lawyers that there seems to be a resistance on both sides. I don’t understand why, even when the solution is FREE. They seem to be interested or they say I already have something in place that I pay for but from client reviews, it’s evident that this is not the case.

      I love the idea of seeing several quotes in one place so that I can make a more informed decision. Home buying and selling is already stressful enough, not having certain information upfront can further confuse things.

  4. DavidSandeman

    In the auction industry, for whom we provide various services, including hosting the majority of the legal packs, most of the lots have a comprehensive legal pack made available for prospective bidders to inspect prior to bidding. Whilst the time period between the lot coming to market and going to auction is often between just two and three weeks, it does give bidders sufficient time to make an informed decision as to whether they want to bid on the property.
    We see the system working very well in the auction industry and I’m sure it would have terrific benefits for the private treaty market to allow the prospective buyer to make a more informed offer if they had sight of at least some parts of the required legal documents such as the TA6, fixtures and fittings, service charge information, plans and other easy to assemble documents that the vendor could provide.  After all, you would not make an offer on a 2nd hand car without inspecting the service history!

    1. Bryan Mansell

      David and this is exactly what Gazeal do, ensure that the buyer gets to review the ‘pack’ before making an offer.

  5. Woodentop

    We have pushed this idea for decades with a local firm of solicitors. Some vendors have gone along, while the majority on a voluntary basis have to be legally advised there are potential time limits and walked away. Also where it falls down … chains and conveyancing call centres (often linked to national chains). I think everyone involved can recount more than one case which brings it all to a halt on speeding up time to exchange.


    Our experience is if the take up is voluntarily, which has always been there, is limited. It needs legislation to drive change forward and that is a major hurdle. Last attempt with HIPs was a disaster.


    The only way foreword at this time is for a bespoke on-line conveyancing system where all the information is stored and available to all parties (data protection/access limits/client confidential issues) but who pays? You still then have to wait for survey and mortgage offer (if applicable) and a chain to finalise. The speed of the process will always be dictated by ‘others’ involved.



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