According to the new president of the E-Homebuying Forum, Sir Bryan Carsberg, the future of the conveyancing market for England and Wales lies in partnerships being formed by solicitors and estate agents to form a ‘one stop shop’ for sellers. He went on to say that they system works well in Scotland and he suggested that legal and binding contracts are entered into at the offer stage as they are in Scotland. Click here to view the full article, reported in the Law Society Gazette on 24 June 2010.
If this were to happen there would have to be proper regulation of Estate Agents (there is nothing to regulate them now) and mutual trust between solicitors and estate agents. At present there are often strained relationships between some agents and conveyancers with estate agents coming across as ‘pushy’ and somewhat aggressive in their manner of driving things forward. There can also be a lack of understanding on the part of agents as to realistic timeframes for getting things done so if these partnerships were to happen I think estate agents would have to undergo some sort of training on conveyancing procedures.
The Law Society property spokesman, Paul Marsh, voiced his opinions in the above article saying he would like to see solicitors taking advantage of all opportunities over the next few years to be able to sell property and give clients a one stop shop, subject to regulation of estate agents.
The idea of partnerships is a sound idea since it means that the two professions could work together without clashing and both would be aware of what the other was doing. It could potentially provide a more streamlined conveyancing process to buyers and sellers who would then only have to contact one place for a progress update etc. .
It would also help with the whole problem of being ‘gazumped’, where a seller pulls out before exchange of contracts having accepted a higher offer on a property from another party. This does not happen in Scotland where contracts are entered into at an early stage but is still wide spread in the UK and causes much anguish to buyers. Solicitors and conveyancers would have to be involved right from the outset for this partnership to succeed since the contract drafting would be involved right from the very beginning.