Moving the market


Coodes Solicitors is working with businesses in Cornwall and Devon to get the property market back on the move. Head of residential property Alistair Whyte shares his advice on buying and selling

Running a successful business is all about managing cashflow during these cautious economic times, and for customers buying and selling property they require a process that is efficient and quick. Time is money and time is precious for all involved in the residential property market.

At Coodes, we are doing everything we can to work with partner businesses within our market – estate agents, surveyors, financial advisors, mortgage brokers and insurers. After all we share the same customers, and we estimate that the time it takes for a house sale to go through can be reduced by as much as a third if all those involved work together.

Our client Lorrie Eathorne-Gibbon, former chairman of Cornwall’s Federation of Small Businesses, agrees by saying: “I would like to see, from start to finish, all the different suppliers involved in conveyancing readily sharing information.”

As part of this work, Coodes is holding workshops specifically aimed at estate agents to reinforce how important it is to iron out any legal issues before a potential buyer is even introduced.

The residential market has significantly increased in supply, in part by speculative sellers who want to test the market without any fees. Since the demise of Home Information Packs (HIPs) and most estate agents offering “no sale no fee” services, it costs nothing to put a property on the market. But it does cost the estate agent if a sale is delayed or fails.

However, demand is controlled by the availability of credit and with lenders cautious, if not reluctant, to offer mortgages to particular sectors of the market now is the very time IFAs/Mortgage Brokers need to engage with Estate Agents/Solicitors to best secure those elusive loans.

We have the following advice for our fellow professionals working with customers buying and selling property:

Estate Agents: Encourage your customer to instruct a solicitor at the time of marketing and to gather together all the paperwork. Lenders no longer store deeds/ documents and the “paperchase” of locating missing documents can be interminable.

Many solicitors will, like estate agents, now offer “no sale no fee” arrangements so refer work to your local solicitors who have expert and in depth knowledge of the locality.

Financial advisors and mortgage brokers: A mortgage application is often the last thing to be processed before contracts can be exchanged, so for this to fail at the final hour is hugely frustrating. Early contact with the buyer’s solicitor can avoid pitfalls particularly when lenders have specific requirements as to leasehold, affordable housing or recently purchased properties.

Insurers: Online insurers may be competitive on price but often have difficulty, or cannot, provide insurance for other than standard transaction such as insuring a house divided into two flats or a house of a new construction. Customers should be referred to local experts in their field.

Technology: Embrace technology and use it to best effect. It’s surprising how much communication still arrives by “snail mail” when email would be quicker and far more convenient to all concerned.

Coodes has introduced the following services to speed up residential conveyancing.

  • Estate agent and the law workshops: Sessions aimed at estate agents, covering the conveyancing process, hurdles to overcome, pitfalls to avoid and the latest changes to legislation
  • Fixed priced conveyancing packages for first-time home buyers, with no fee if there is no completion.
  • £99 Will for home-movers who use Coodes.

This article appears in the November 2010 issue of Business Cornwall magazine