Kevin Tunnicliffe (pictured) is managing director at SortRefer
The recent problems brokers and their clients have suffered with service at a conveyancing provider highlight the difference between the rhetoric of a smooth service and the reality of when an overload happens.
As an ex-broker myself, with over 20 years’ experience, I know first-hand the difficulties that can arise from clients using a conveyancer that is not up to the task. In this case, I have no doubt that the conveyancer in question is probably very good, but has been swamped with new business and unable to cope.
At the time I started advising, free legals for the remortgage market were unheard of.
Of course, that does not help the poor customer but I feel that much of the problem lies in the growth of ‘free legals’ that accompany many remortgage products. Lenders choose a small number of conveyancing providers, based on competence but also on the lowest price. The better the actual mortgage product offering, the more the business floods into the chosen conveyancer firms and because most lenders only have very small panels of conveyancers, the outcome can lead to the current unhappy situation.
‘Free legals’ were designed to be a great bonus for clients but the reality can and does lead to the issues we are seeing today, particularly when the conveyancer only works for the lender and not the client. Personally, I would like to see fewer ‘free legals’ packages and many more cashback offers. Not only would it take the pressure off lenders’ chosen conveyancing companies, but broker clients actually have proper representation, which tends to get overlooked.
The choice of mortgage product with cashback options is increasing but the challenge is trying to make brokers see just how much more they offer than ‘free legals’. At SortRefer, we have a tried and tested remortgage product that complements the cashback option whilst providing proper representation and the all-important communication, which clients and brokers need.
In the light of what has happened with this latest breakdown of service, hopefully this will provide the impetus for more brokers to look at cashback options. I would urge all brokers to consider how they communicate the legal options to their clients. Where possible, by recommending a cashback option, not only do clients get proper legal representation and a proper communication conduit to the lenders’ conveyancer, but they can be sure that the service they receive will be hugely improved, leading to better and faster outcomes.