Yes, we all remember asking it, and for those with children you will experience it, even on the shortest of trips.
So, did it get us there any faster? Did it speed up the journey? Did it help keep everyone calm and less agitated? Did twitching the curtain, looking out of the window, waiting for those first birthday party guests to turn up, make them arrive early? We all know the answer – NO
Then why oh why do ‘grown-ups’ still do it now, but in the conveyancing process?
“Are we ready to exchange yet?” “Have we got a moving date yet?” And best of all – “ When will the other side be ready?”
So what exactly causes this problem of regression into child-like expectations? The clue is in the question. It’s the expectations that are out of kilter. It is important to do something about it because if not, then unnecessary calls become more frequent, a culture of blame grows, stress and agitation sets in all round and what could and should be a smooth and pleasant experience becomes, or at least is perceived as, a nightmare.
For the lawyer the problem manifests itself by constantly being on the phone, being asked the “ are we nearly there?” question which stops them doing the very thing clients and others are on the phone asking and chasing for.
What exactly can and should be done and how? Well, let’s look at another analogy.
Did Spain win the European Cup by playing as individuals? No, they showed they were the best and got results by working as a unit, occasionally lending the ball to their opponent to show off their own individual skills only for Spain to take the ball back, when they chose to, (or be given it back in the case of England!).
It’s true that there are plenty of old-fashioned lawyers out there who regard agents as a nuisance – who believe agents are only interested in their commission, but take heart, because there are others who treat agents with the respect they deserve as part of a team.
In fact, they are more than that. They are like the captain – holding things together when other parties in the transaction are all doing their own individual thing.
So, out of the problem comes the opportunity……… ……….
Solving The Problem requires team work – solicitors and agent MUST work together and manage the sellers/buyers expectations to make not just the clients’ but everyone’s journey better.
Now all will be fine with the solicitor who communicates and shares information with you, the agents:
telling you when contracts have been sent/received
telling you when enquiries have been sent/received
telling you when the other sides clients aren’t responding
asking you for help to chase clients/other side
trusting one another
But what about the lawyers who don’t do these things? Well – as the saying goes – if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the mountain. Yes, you have to educate the solicitors.
And what can you, the agents do?
If you come across a solicitor who doesn’t play the team game, TELL THEM WHAT THEY NEED TO DO. Perhaps no one has before. Arrange a meeting with their conveyancing partner/head, or better still, their team. Tell them the importance of informing you:-
: when contracts have been issued/received
: when enquiries have been sent/received
: when the other side aren’t responding
: when clients don’t reply to letters or return forms or money
: what problems are holding things up
More importantly, explain the benefits – Explain you can do the chasing and keep clients informed, so that they can get off the phone and get on with the job.
Don’t believe the bad press about agents (well not all of it anyway!). At the end of the day we lawyers know that clients quite often feel more comfortable speaking with agents than lawyers and if they “hear if from the agent”, they are more inclined to accept it.
Until the ‘us’ and ‘them’ barriers are broken down lawyers and agents will only be able to work as individual players. Once the barriers go trust will exist between the lawyers and the agents. You won’t feel the need to ring the lawyer – the lawyer won’t feel pestered; and the seller/buyer will be kept informed and reassured that the lawyers are doing everything they should be doing.
So, are we nearly there yet?
Well not yet, but the journey will be a more pleasant experience!
Cunningtons have recently won Gold in the Best Small Conveyancer, and Best Overall Conveyancer categories at the Estate Agent of the year Awards sponsored by The Times/Sunday Times.
Call our Sales Director Justin White on 07891 347754 to discuss how we can help your clients move.