Simply Conveyancing: ‘Progressing pipelines should be agents’ absolute focus at the moment’

Vicky Quinn-Campbell

Simply Conveyancing is urging estate agents to take advantage of a high level of market activity ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline on 30 June.

The latest transaction figures from HMRC show UK residential transactions totalled 147,050 in February 2021, 48% higher than February 2020 and 23% higher than January 2021.

Meanwhile, data from Rightmove suggests the stamp duty holiday extension could be responsible for an additional 300,000 transactions completing by the end of June, savings buyers a total of £1.75bn.

Vicky Quinn-Campbell, sales and marketing director at Simply Conveyancing, said: “Progressing pipelines should be agents’ absolute focus at the moment as there is so much additional income available.

“Taking advantage of higher transaction levels now could help agents to underpin their finances for the remainder of the year and beyond.

“Although lockdown restrictions are gradually easing, the landscape is still fragile so agents must have the right processes and options in place to give transactions the best possible chance of completing.”

Simultaneous Exchange and Completion can provide certainty

A Simultaneous Exchange and Completion (SIM) is when all parties in the chain agree a date for the exchange and completion to happen at the same time, although it is recommended that there is at least one or two weeks between both.

If SIMs are well-planned with all conveyancers in the chain, they can provide more certainty but also mean plans can be changed easily as there is no contract in place.

Quinn-Campbell explained: “Although a SIM means homemovers don’t have the benefit of an exchanged contract before the moving date, if for any reason any party in the chain cannot move on the planned date, they are not liable for costs or risking their deposit as no contract has been exchanged.

“There are risks as the lack of contract means parties could pull out at any time, putting pre-paid costs such as removals at risk. However, if a SIM is the right option for the chain, it can allow the transaction to complete more smoothly.”

Exchange on Notice increases flexibility

An Exchange on Notice means the completion is agreed with a notice period instead of a fixed date. This provides movers in a chain with the option to wait until all parties are able to complete by providing an agreed notice period such as seven days.

This approach allows conveyancers to insert a long stop date in which no costs are incurred if it is not met, i.e. ‘seven days’ notice, but no longer than 30 June 30 2021.

Quinn-Campbell added: “An Exchange on Notice allows agents and conveyancers to set out clear timelines that everyone agrees with, while leaving flexibility to reissue contracts and change dates should circumstances change.

This type of agreement is most useful for the longest chains.”

Covid Riders may still be essential

Although pandemic restrictions continue to ease and the government’s four-step roadmap intends to remove all restrictions on June 21 at the earliest (before the stamp duty holiday deadline), Simply Conveyancing says some chains may still require Covid Riders.

A Covid Rider is a clause that is added to the contract of sale and must be included in every contract in the chain if it is to be enforceable. These clauses protect movers should there be any Covid-related circumstances which stop them from moving.

Quinn-Campbell continued: “The situation over the last year or so has been fast-moving, with the impact of the pandemic improving during the summer and autumn last year before worsening again over the winter,” adds Quinn-Campbell.

“Although things have been more positive in recent weeks with a significant light at the end of the tunnel, it’s important for agents and their clients to remain cautious with regards to the pandemic and insert a Covid Rider if it is required.

Communication and positivity can help to get the job done

Alongside the legal and practical steps agents need to have in place, working with the best conveyancers and prioritising communication can help to progress pipelines.

Quinn-Campbell says it important to keep clients calm while educating them about their options. She adds that it is beneficial for agents to work with Covid-secure conveyancers who have the innovative technology in place to help transactions progress more quickly.

Quinn-Campbell concluded: “Solicitors that can act on both sides of the transaction can help deals to complete even more smoothly and quickly, while agents who provide all the information on the chain can improve their chances of earning additional revenue ahead of the stamp duty deadline.”

 

 

 

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18 Comments

  1. mattfaizey

    There are no words to accurately convey my contempt.   To suggest SIM is an ‘ok’ thing is gross. A lie.
    Moreover an exact demonstration of the lack of concern, care or empathy I have long accused conveyancers of.   
    What a selfish, idiotic thing to promote.   A family with four to six tonnes of furniture and personal effects are supposed to wake up one morning and not know if they have to move it all that day?   The same family won’t know where they’re certainly sleeping that night?  
    Do conveyancers think it’s fair or right that these people have to arrange change of address, time of work, childcare, movers and packing, without knowing for certain they’re moving?  
    Do conveyancers think it’s fair to ask an entire sector (house moving firms) to operate on no notice of cancellations just because they think this stupidity fits?    How about the next time a conveyancer moves home they ask their moving company to only call them on the morning to advise if they’re turning up or not?  
    Would that be acceptable? How much stress would that cause?  
    Multiply it by 10 for that family above.  
    And that’s only if the poor people don’t get chipped/gazundered at 11am on the morning because their ‘professional’ conveyancer gave them stupid advice designed to cut the number of hours they spend on the file.  
    Then, even if it does go ‘ok’. Too frequently the family and their movers get shafted due to only getting keys 16:00. Ruining and making thoroughly  miserable what should be a happy day.
      Yeah, great article.

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    1. flockfollower102

      I could not agree more and this article demonstrates (if there was need to do so) how totally unfit fit for purpose the conveyancing system is. If this is how large conveyancing panels view their customers and quite likely reflect the view of the conveyancers on their panel, then the system is rotten to the core and should be properly reviewed and changed asap.

      The Tories are putting a lot of faith in the housing market to dig the economy out of a hole, but they are ignoring the issues that are patently clear to anyone who has to deal with the process on a daily basis. The system is unfit for purpose!

       

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  2. Rob Hailstone

    A Simultaneous Exchange and Completion is when all parties in the chain agree a date for the exchange and completion to happen at the same time:

    “It is recommended that there is at least one or two weeks between both. There are risks as the lack of contract means parties could pull out at any time, putting pre-paid costs such as removals at risk.”

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  3. #ImpressiveConveyancing

    A pointless article.

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    1. hardtalkdiplomacy@gmail.com

      Cocur…shoukd be entitled “Conveyancing Misunderstood”…

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  4. gingerninja

    Wow. Just wow. Surely a sim should really only be used as an absolute last resort and under no circumstances recommended as a suitable alternative to the standard 1-2 weeks between? The risks of doing a sim are huge.

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  5. Woodentop

    “Progressing pipelines should be agents’ absolute focus at the moment as there is so much additional income available.

    “Taking advantage of higher transaction levels now could help agents to underpin their finances for the remainder of the year and beyond”.

     

    I wasn’t aware that good agents hadn’t been doing this  for decades. Unlike conveyancers, we don’t get paid unless the sale exchanges and when we do get involved a little more than we should have to, the reaction is often …. how dare we get involved.

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    1. hardtalkdiplomacy@gmail.com

      If agents got involved and asked pertanent questiobs or read the updated inline lig then it wouldnt be so bad…but when we have just received searches in and the question is ‘can you exchange yet’ tiresome is a mild  verb/adhective to describe how we feel…

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      1. Woodentop

        That’s because we have to chase you from the silence. Some conveyancers are good at communication but sadly the majority go at their own pace in secret and it can be like pulling teeth to get answers and many a time found the silence to be … haven’t done what was required in a timely fashion. God for bid an estate agent checks up on a conveyancer.

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        1. AcornsRNuts

          From my own experience God Forbid a vendor ask an estate agent what is going on and get a straight answer. All I get is “When I spoke with Mrs X last week she seemed to think that the report should be ok for the mortgage. But, I do not know the contents of the report nor have i spoken with the structural engineer for his opinion. I hope to be able to catch up with Mr and Mrs X early to mid next week to see if there is an update.” This has been going on for three months and I am at the point of going to auction because the agents have put forward someone who has not yet had a firm mortgage offer.   All agents are not the same it seems.
          I would LOVE a Simultaneous Exchange and Completion.

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          1. Woodentop

            Agreed there are some lazy agents but what is not commonly understood is that agents have saved many a property sale and chain collapsing by doing the job right. Far too many in conveyancing are not fit for purpose when it comes speed and that is what everyone complains about … the time it takes to exchange under the current system. Its a myth if people think that conveyancers save chains, they don’t talk to the other parties … not paid to!

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  6. ARC

    I have genuinely seen it all now. For some time I have suspected that the majority of conveyancing firms don’t really understand the process that their customers have to undertake or they ‘simply’ don’t care. That can be the only explanation for such an ill thought out set of ideas, shame on them.

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  7. Stevepayne

    The whole industry is under pressure right now. Agents, conveyancers, removals alike. Now more than ever before do clients need to have informed choice. I’ve got clients screaming down the phone to have their sales go through before the end of stamp duty. Sims might be a logistical nightmare, but better that than the sale falling through!

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    1. ARC

      Hi Steve

      I completely agree where there is no more hope left and on the 29th June the last chance is a sim the next day then yes I can see how that would be an option. However that is not what was advocated above, where the inference was that a sim should be a preference in some way, which is why I believe it shows a lack of understanding for the position of their clients.

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      1. Stevepayne

        Hi ARC,

        I’ve had Simply Conveyancing in a few chains recently, I suspect from many of the comments the article has been taken out of context slightly from my experience. I’ve actually found them really good at “thinking outside the box” to help clients and keep chains moving.

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  8. Sensible.

    Difference  between conveyancing factories and proper solicitors.

    One talking about turnover and maximising  profit the other focusing on doing their job for their client as a professional (one of the true professionals).

    Agents moaning yet massively  guilty of propping up these tin pot firms. It’s your fault.

    Also, for the record, its not a solicitors  job to update agents. Clients should get their updates from their own solicitors. This is just an agents excuse to chase for their own benefit. It just wastes time.

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    1. Woodentop

      Conveyancers do not chase chains, nor do they do the chasing other than their direct counter-part … oh I should say, “we are awaiting a reply, I can’t move forward”. Without the good agent (yes there are bad) many chains and sales would collapse and so often it is the agents that have speeded up by doing much of the chasing that they shouldn’t need to do. Conveyancing is paper pushing at the speed of the whim of the conveyancer, some good, some bad and some ugly and some don’t like to see people discovering which one they are.

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  9. Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    No idea what this article means? As ex-agent of 32-years, surely every day, is a day that agents need to prioritise getting sales exchanged, after all at £4,100 the average national fee, is the fiscal lever underpinning the residential real estate business. Second, agreeing a simulateneous exchange and completion when you have say a chain of three or more is fanciful, as 70% of the time at least one law firm will realise they do not have a key piece of data, documention, 48-hours prior to exchange, or participants will be playing let us wait for the deposit at the bottom to be in place, or maybe a second class envelope is in the ether somewhere on its way to a client for signature … containing the contract or transfer deed.
    Having dealt with over 8,000 completed sales, personally being in loop with about 85% of them, the solution to the carnage that descends the moment an agent raises a memorandum of sale is for all conveyancers to run digital businesses.
    Burn the paper, destroy the franking machine, shred those dreaded brown envelopes that send out the vast tomes of paper, with all the delays inherent in that, and start using normal processes open to anyone running a business in 2021. For the love of God, conveyancing a property, the transfer of title is a known process, a child could write down all the processes, give it to a coder who could build a data ecosystem covering every eventuality. 1.1M completions year, put som AI and ML behind this, streamline all communications, allow the buyer and vendor onto a dashboard where they can see if Mr X two up in the chain has applied for his search, has his mortgage deed signed, etc.
    Then instead of all stakeholders fumbling around in the dark, relying on agents to be the usual conduit of information – those who understand that exchange = income = happy vendors and buyers, that is, we might crawl forward.
    The biggest blockers in the legal side are mindsets, lack of investment and the fact that outside the top 100 legal firms, just like estate agency, conveyancing in the UK is a national cottage industry, and as such the piecemeal way it is delivered is still 30 years behind an Amazon e-commerce level of service. Imagine if you wanted to order something on Amazon and it took 22 weeks and you had to rely on paper, ink and second class franking, would that business be a multi-billion dollar empire – Zara thinks not.
    Am I anti-conveyancers – NO – they work extremely hard, but in a 40% efficient manner, give them the tools to do the job 2030 style, and you can deal with more clients, so bigger profits, less stress on your teams, as the tech is doing the ‘mind numbing, boring, repetitive processes’ that software loves to do, and 24/7 not 9 to 5 with an hour for lunch and no weekends, after all property is sold 24/7, 365 days a year, a clear mismatch here also.  
     

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