Back to basics

David Gilman

July 24, 2015

David Gilman is partner in charge of Blacks Connect

I’m always slightly nervous about using the phrase, ‘Back to basics’, so synonymous has it become (politically at least) with John Major’s Conservative Government between 1992-1997. For those who can’t remember that far back, Major kicked off 1993 with his call for a ‘Back to Basics’ approach to both politics and society, which was essentially a return to what he believed were traditional British values, namely decency, honesty, neighbourliness, etc, etc.

Unfortunately (for him) over the next four years, his Government was shown to be anything but decent and honest, with numerous scandals breaking throughout that term, ultimately leading to his humiliating landslide defeat by Tony Blair’s New Labour Party in the General Election of 1997. Now, ‘back to basics’ is almost used as a shorthand way to describe a monumental error of judgement although perhaps Major (Edwina Currie aside) was not at fault for most of his colleague’s misdemeanours.

So, with that political/history lesson, I will move on to say that I’m still going to treat some of my articles going forward as a ‘back to basics’ approach to conveyancing, because while we tend to talk around the subject a lot, advisers who have never involved themselves in the provision of conveyancing advice might well benefit from a look at how to go about it. This is not a, ‘What is conveyancing’? article because I’m assuming that if you’re a mortgage adviser and you don’t know what conveyancing is you’re probably in the wrong job. Instead, it’s about what it takes to be involved in conveyancing?

The good news for advisers in this case, is the answer is, ‘Not a lot’. There is no great financial or time resource required to provide your mortgage clients with conveyancing advice; in fact, those solicitor firms like ourselves and the various distributor propositions that exist have gone out of their way to make the process as easy as possible. If you’re able to go online, register your details, provide the necessary client information, print out a quote, hand it to your client and get their agreement then you’re 99% of the way there.

It really is that simple because with the online systems, like our own, this is how conveyancing advice works.

For instance, with Blacks Connect you agree to provide a quote to your client, go online, key in the right information, secure an instant quotation with no hidden fees, and go from there.

Not only are you providing your client with access to their conveyancing solicitor you are (in our case) also securing them a no sale/no fee guarantee, plus Purchase Protection should the deal fall through, not forgetting a dedicated conveyancer who will deal with the case directly until it reaches completion.

The adviser can track that case online, ensure their client is not off using a solicitor firm that is unable to cope with the case and brings about unnecessary delays, plus not forgetting the rather important points that it adds to the overall service quality and it can bring in up to £300 income per case via a referral fee.

For these reasons alone – service proposition and income – it surely makes sense to provide this advice to clients?

Of course, not all clients will want conveyancing advice but I’m pretty certain, particularly those who are completely new to the house-buying/mortgage process, that the interest will be real and genuine. Ask most first-time buyers who their solicitor firm is going to be and you’re likely to be met with blank faces. They are therefore actively looking for advice and guidance in this area, and let’s be honest if it doesn’t come from you then the estate agency is likely to take control of this aspect of the business.

So, taking it back to basics, there is no real impediment to advisers developing conveyancing advice as part of their overall proposition. The positives are there for all to see and the ease of access and use now makes it a simple and effective addition for clients.

If you’re not offering this service already, then ask yourself why not?


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