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Page 3 – Completion Day

It’s the banks fault

Yep, this one gets said a lot.

Money transfers can take a while to go through

This too.

It’s just the way it is

And this.

There’s a theme here. When a customer gets the keys to the new house very late. After they’ve been sat in their car, in the summer heat for 4 hours wondering WTF is happening.

This is the stuff they hear when they ask the EA or the Solicitor.

Well, to be fair, it was happy hour and all you can eat for a tenner at the chinese resturant, and then, when we got to the office I’d missed so much on facebook that another half hour went real quick, then me mate popped in for a cuppa and before yer know it most of the afternoon had gone…..

This one, not so much.

Ok. Sorry, I am being unfair (but only slightly) with that one. However….

I’m sorry, yes I know your buyers funds were in at 10:00 but I was on the phone, then in a meeting, then forgot and went to lunch. I did however send the funds on the very second I got back, at half two. I would have chased them on too but I got distracted by a different client. Sorry you were sat in the car for 3 hours when you could have been moving in.

Strangely, we don’t find that one so popular.

So, how are we going to avoid this for you?

I will write here the letter/email I would write to my solicitor. I’ll pretend I am position two in the chain as that is where I placed you for the table of influence.

 

Dear Sir / Madam

I am turning my thoughts to completion day. May I ask you some questions and seek some reassurance.

I am presuming the time in our contract for completion is 13:00. Please advise if this wasn’t your intention, and if not what time will be in there, and why? Now, I am fully aware of course that I am legally obligated to provide vacant possession to my buyers at this time. I will achieve this. I intend for us to be in a position to collect the keys very shortly after the time in the contract. Which does of course mean I am seeking reassurance that your service will meet the contractual obligations you yourself have written.

Thinking of my new home, and of the process moving in however please could you confirm for me what you will do first thing on the day to chase my buyers solicitor into sending funds with zero delay? Whilst on that topic could you confirm for me that my buyers solicitor is drawing down their mortgage funds the day before so as to not cause any wholly unessessary delays waiting for funds to come in.

Could you confirm how long it will take for you to find out my funds have landed in your client account, and how you will do so? Then, how long it will take for you to forward those funds on. Moreover will you confirm that you will be chasing the vendors solicitor to acknowledge reciept and how long you expect this to take?

Please could you confirm for me that you will call me to confirm each step as it happens, i.e my funds coming in, and you then forwarding them on.

Will you guarantee that the funds will be through in time for the time in the contract to be honoured correctly?

Will you ensure that the Estate Agent acting for my vendor are called promptly by the vendors solicitor to confirm we can have key release on time?

Lastly, and not wishing to be pessimistic but could you confirm you are fully familiar with the process of serving notice to complete on my vendors should they not be out and able to provide me with vacant possession for the (presumed at this stage) contract time of 13:00?

Your Sincerely

Happy Home Mover.

 

Succinct. Does the job. Ensures your solicitor knows you are relatively well informed with regards what has to happen but also makes it clear you have zero intention of being messed around.

As I have mentioned, there is nothing offensive in there, nothing to cause offence. You’re merely confirming that the job you are already paying a fee for will be executed promptly, efficiently and to your best interests.

I did give consideration to contacting the Bank of England with a view to publishing data for CHAPS transfer times. This being to show that the CHAPS system is being unfairly blamed where the real cause is now, and has been for dacades – human inefficiency.

To be completely honest – I know what the data would show, and it would depress me greatly! Plus, I’ll leave that powder dry for after I have had a sufficient number of complaints from ‘professionals’ regarding this advice centre!

There is a blog post on this site that has info on what is happening behind the scenes on the day with funds transfer. Click here to open in a separate window. 

It might be worth sliding into this letter the question confirming what time your solicitor starts work on the day in question. While you’re there just ensure they actually work a 5 day week too, you’d be surprised how many don’t.

Plus, couldn’t hurt to confirm if he/she has any holidays planned at that time……. It wouldn’t be the first time a client had the sudden surprise……..

 

Cognitive Dissonance

Ever Heard of this?

This is what the legal profession, certainly where conveyancing is concerned experiences, day in, day out – purely in my opinion of course.

Source = Wiki – In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is consequence of a person’s performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values.[1][2]

In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. That a person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance: either by changing parts of the cognition, to justify the stressful behavior; or by adding new parts to the cognition that causes the psychological dissonance; and by actively avoiding social situations and contradictory information that are likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.[1]

For example, in the situation whereby one cannot be openly critical of one’s own failures or lack of ability an individual might seek to externalise (head in sand) in order to deflect from a rather hard truth.

Which brings me right back to where this page started

It’s the banks fault

Money Transfers can take a while to go through

It’s just the way it is

 

Yeah?

Not for you, not now.

This year we’ve seen a firm take 3 hours to acknowledge funds being received. In my career I’ve seen a Solicitor go for lunch, then shopping, and forget about a completion. I have seen the solicitor acting for the first party in a chain of five not transfer funds until 14:30 (destroyed the day for numbers 4 and 5). I have seen one particular idiot say ‘I don’t check for clients funds until after lunch, it’s just how I do it’ < They might have been in funds since 10am!

 

The stuff these pages are having a pop at are behaviours, habits, and accepted practices that are unfair. Not all solicitors are bad and not all EA’s are either.

The process however is not only flawed, it is easily cheapened, manipulated, or bent by people with their own motives and agendas.

They only get away with it because their clients know no better.

Hence why I write this.

 

Matt

matt@mgtr.co.uk