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Argh! I just KNEW we'd fall out with our solicitor when we negotiated a price reduction!!

(21 Posts)
faraday Fri 14-Aug-09 14:59:37

We're buyers (in a buyer's market??!) and were recommended this solicitor by the vendor's EA (it's a small, localised market here). SO far so good. But we negotiated a £50 price reduction from this solicitor and we had the feeling from that moment forth things weren't going well.

The main issue is, I readily concede, is that we can't BELIEVE the shenanigans the UK house market is prepared to put up with BUT this has been well exacerbated by the almost total lack of communication we've had with our solicitor! We've had to make EVERY phone call to him, write EVERY email. He's quite curt on the phone anyway but today I sent him an email that sort of spelled it out: As in the gist (but coolly polite!): "OK WHERE exactly do we stand? It's been over 6 weeks since price agreement yet ALL we've had (other than the letter confirming them as our solicitors) is the Contents/Inclusions list, dated 11 days before we received it, this Tuesday. We emailed you back our queries but have heard nothing ".

We can only ASSUME he'd sent it to THEIR solicitors as he never replied to our email! then:

"We don't know if you've done the searches, even WHICH searches you're doing, WHAT the results have been cos you've told us NOTHING. WE want to start putting pressure on the vendors (who have an agreed offer on another local property as well) but we can't do that til we KNOW YOU'VE done all OUR homework, can we?"

His email reply was terse to say the least! Though note this is the first 'immediate' reply we've had from the bloke! -Accusing us of 'an aggressive tone', 'reminding' us we're 'all on the same team' but saying yes he's got the searches back, yes, they're all satisfactory, yes he's put our queries to them via their solicitors but hasn't had a reply yet.

WHY hasn't he told us all this, via 2 line emails as he goes along?? He KNOWS we're losing our rag a bit over this (and WE are, after all, still paying him £600 for all this!) and that the EA, mutually known to all of us WILL apply necessary 'pressure' to a recalcitrant seller IF he knows the ball is completely in THEIR court and the potential buyers (us) are getting fed up and 'considering our options'.

I am really cross at his attitude. I have emailed him back saying I feel I have every right to vent my frustration in general. I can't focus my irritation because I have NO IDEA who's dragging the chain as he hasn't told us! And pointing out that my 'irritated' email, finally, achieved the desired result of a Progress Report!

ADriedFrogForTheBursar Fri 14-Aug-09 17:07:46

LOL! You have my sympathies, I had a rather strained conversation with my own solicitor this afternoon. Your email does sound a bit silly to be honest but I totally understand your frustration. Maybe the kick up the backside will mean he won't let it slide so long next time. Good Luck, they don't call this house moving business the one of life's most stressful things for no reason!

ilovemydogandmrobama Fri 14-Aug-09 17:12:03

Poor you. Think you need to ask him specific questions such as:

1. What is left to wrap up before we exchange?
2. Who will propose a date?
3. Shall we exchange and complete on same day?

HerHonesty Fri 14-Aug-09 17:12:03

um... so did you use capital letters in the email to your solicitor?

acebaby Fri 14-Aug-09 18:51:12

poor you - we had a nightmare solicitor too!

You can always get in touch with the agent directly to check your responses to enquiries etc are getting through and the sale is progressing. the agent is the best person to ask chain questions in any case. I would get your contract signed at the solicitors as soon as possible and then just deal with the agent

secretskillrelationships Fri 14-Aug-09 19:27:00

Sorry I don't agree with acebaby at all. We had agents up and down the chain who, quite frankly, lied throughout the process and made it much more stressful than it needed to be. They kept assuring us that the chain was solid even when we had to drop the price, even when everyone missed deadline after deadline, even when our solicitor was telling us that they'd had no confirmation that our buyers were ready to proceed.

In the final few weeks, the agents up and down the chain convinced everyone else that everyone had agreed a second price reduction with completion to happen in the next few days. Our solicitor still did not have completed paperwork! Needless to say, no-one was actually ready but the agents insisted that they were!

I could go on and on about what the agents did wrong. Yes our solicitor didn't get in touch with us but when I chased her that was simply because she didn't have anything to tell us. Solicitors contact you when they have information that needs your response. They won't ring you every day like the estate agent as that is simply a waste of everyone's time.

OP - you're complaining about the cost of the solicitors but this is peanuts compared with what the estate agent will get. It equates to about one day's work. My advice is if you want to know what is happening, then ask. But be aware that the process is slow - searches rely on local authorities (not know for their dynamism) and local water boards etc (ditto) as well as the other side's solicitors. If your solicitor thought things were not going to plan s/he woud be in touch.

LIZS Fri 14-Aug-09 19:38:05

sory I think you are expecting rather too much and that email (if as quoted) is pretty aggressive in tone. It is standard for the purchaser to receive the searches, responses to enquiries, draft contracts etc in one batch when you are nearing the point of exchange. Otherwise it is no news is good news.

If you had wanted to be kept informed of the detail toing and froing you should perhaps have made that clear at the outset. Does he have an administrator ? It is often much easier to get a simple status update from them as they open the post and maintain the files.

Umlellala Fri 14-Aug-09 19:50:18

Oh, I sympathise as we are in the process too... and although our solicitor is fab, our vendor's solicitor seems a bit like yours - shite er, absent!

BUT I do agree with HerHonesty that your email tone may come across a little aggressive (unless you are ranting here and were polite to him). IME if you are nice, firm and clear, people bend over backwards to help you (and believe me, I have been on the phone every day to crappy estate agents so really do sympathise). Am v tempted to ring our vendor's solictors and ask what the hell is going on, but will not be aggressive, more pleasant but clear iykwim.

So instead of 'WHY have you not replied to my solicitor? And have you even READ the property form with all the mistakes?' (which would be in my head, the knob)
I will be saying
"Hi, I am assuming you have it all in hand, but you know what it's like, stress of moving! And my solicitor has not heard from you so I just wondered if you could let me know where you are at. Could you email her today please'

Hope that helps, big sympathies though, this moving lark is hideous...

faraday Sat 15-Aug-09 14:38:14

No, the email wasn't 'as quoted'- What I wrote above was "I sent him an email that sort of spelled it out: As in the gist (but coolly polite!)..." which should imply that it wasn't the actual, verbatim text of what I DID email! I AM ranting here but my email to him was far more 'We are rather disappointed that...'- 'Putting us in a difficult position as we cannot ask the EA to bring any pressure to bear upon the vendors'.. (as this solicitor had himself suggested!)..'if it transpires it is OUR side who have failed to act, we need to know exactly where we stand before we can proceed..." etc

You need to bear in mind I sent the bloke an email on Tues 11th with our response to the inclusions/exclusions 'Contents' list, ALSO asking 'Where are we at?- What more needs to be done before exchange from our angle?'...His response? Absolutely nothing, no acknowledgment, let alone -"OK, I'll send this to their solicitors forthwith, and THIS is where we're at, what's outstanding and what I'm doing about it.". Note my rather more terse email of Fri 14th (yesterday) elicited actual responses to these questions within about an hour!

We had also requested from the very beginning that we would expect to be kept informed via email of progress but so far he has only ever written to us: one form being the 'sign here to appoint me', the second 'pay this for an additional search I appear randomly to have decided you need' (which I paid without complaint) and finally 'Here is the Contents letter from you vendors. Full stop.' NO advice about WHAT to do with it, HOW to challenge it, how to officially accept it!

Umlellala Sat 15-Aug-09 17:20:27

Sorry, I did wonder!

He sounds a right pain, you can complain to the Law Society you know. But the whole moving thing is stressful enough without solicitors refusing to communicate. I am with you, I don't see why it is so hard to keep you updated via email - ours (who is fantastic) sometimes writes loads, sometimes just forwards emails with 'FYI' or 'what do you think of this?'. She also acknowledges my emails, sometimes just with 'thanks'. So I don't think you are being unreasonable.

Keep ranting - you need to vent (and hopefully at some point it'll all be over and you'll be in your new place - hurrah)

toja555 Sat 15-Aug-09 18:31:46

I just went through the same thing myself!!! I chose the cheapest solicitor in my area and I thought I will always regret it! All 2 months after I appointed him to do the work and was asking how things are going, the only answer I would hear was "We are not there yet", he never gave me an estimate date when we can exchange or complete. Then finally when we got to exchange (we exchanged yesterday - Yeee!) I only knew about it couple of days before, and as a result I will be paying 2 months rent for where I live now because I could not give notice in advance. And we get the keys in 2 weeks time. He was a complete crap, although did all things in the end but never let me know anything. I guess it is some kind of the nature of solicitors... You need to be patient and keep reminding him of yourself every second day - I did this in the end and it helped. Good luck!

faraday Sat 15-Aug-09 19:53:42

tee hee!

Yes, I do believe that there is, in this bloke, a certain 'born to rule' mentality where he can't accept that the Good Times of perhaps 50 conveyances a week rolling painlessly across his desk are OVER and this is the New Reality. I thought his ilk had amended their ways POST Dickens but then I went to work in a Posh, commuter belt southern Hampshire city hospital and discovered the Type are still very much alive and kicking in the medical profession. Trouble is, the rest of us have moved on and actually won't accept (unless we had to!) that level of service anymore! I genuinely believe this bloke's problem is that he actually feels professionally compromised by us being as lower class as to haggle a price reduction!

I am a lot calmer now but I suspect we WILL have to harass the vendors come, say, Tuesday next week to get an answer to what are actually simple questions!-
WHY do you want to take the Sky paraphernalia as Sky won't reuse it?..and
Sure, take the custom made book case above the stair-well (or offer it to us at a good price!) BUT make good the damage (as it'll be a pita sorting THAT!). NOT hard! (and don't say 'so why even raise it?!'- on the basis we have every right to ascertain what, exactly we are paying over a third of a million pounds FOR!).

Bear in mind the vendors took 4 days to decide on which of 2 near identical offers to accept then accepted OURS cos we offered 12 weeks to move-out day (which they've effectively squandered). They feel they are in clover and would get £14k more for the place were they to re-offer it tomorrow- possibly true BUT the house THEY'VE had an offer accepted on 2 weeks ago will ALSO be rising in price, too!

HouseHunting Sat 15-Aug-09 21:03:27

Keep emailing/your solicitor to ensure the work is done. In the emails I would cc his boss to give him a kick up the backside - he should be replying to your queries. I can't believe people think they can offer such an inadequate service. Good luck, I hope you get to exchange very soon

HouseHunting Sat 15-Aug-09 21:04:00

That should be keep emailing/phoning

Umlellala Sat 15-Aug-09 21:35:00

Are you able to contact the vendors directly? We have developed a good relationship with ours, which is helping considerably. And I went round to specifically check what what staying or not...

fridayschild Sun 16-Aug-09 08:08:58

As a solicitor who has done a bit of conveyancing myself, can I suggest you phone not write? You will find it better to get a personal rapport going that way, which helps smooth a transaction. Buttering up the secretary is a good tip too.

To a certain extent you do get what you pay for. If you select a lawyer mainly on price, you'll get the service levels which flow from that. Moving house is expensive, and it seems reasonable to economise by deciding that you are the one who will do the chasing. If you think about it that way, even if that's not what you'd expected when you first instructed him, it might help calm you down a bit.

That said there are plenty of solicitors who don't seem to understand client service. One of the letters you got from him should have told you how to complain- if it's a reasonable sized firm there should be someone else in the office. This will be more effective than the Law Society.

faraday Mon 17-Aug-09 20:54:18

Yes, friday, there DO seem to be client service issues here!

I have calmed down considerably since my rant, I have to say... I would also have thought the phone would have been far better than emails but the reality is, this bloke has a very perfunctory telephone manner, it's all "Yes, yes, OK, OK, yes, I'm looking into that or the other"- no substance, no ANSWERS, almost "But expect to have to call my secretary 3 times before I respond to you with more evasion"- and let's face it, my 'Business-like Email' got actual answers to actual questions already asked 4 days previously (and unacknowledged, let alone addressed!

Regarding price, we are paying him £600 versus other quotes of £495 but mumsnet (tee hee!) strongly advised us to go with someone local who'd be far more on the ball and 'in the picture' of the local scene. Ha! We got other local quotes of £700 and thereabouts so really this bloke was very 'ball-park', not Mr Economy.

So our latest 'issue' is we returned our queries re the Inclusions list (a couple of things, nothing deal-breaking!) to our solicitor last Tuesday which he tells us he's submitted- so HOW LONG does it take to get a reply to THAT?!....

Maybe I should go around to the vendor and Knock On The Door as I can SEE the house from my upstairs window!!

Umlellala Tue 18-Aug-09 08:40:33

Yes,drop a note round saying here is my phone number, it would be nice to have direct contact. Seriously, I would be tearing my hair out (even with fab solicitor) if I wasn't ringing the vendors every other day.

TheBolter Tue 18-Aug-09 08:44:43

When it comes to house transactions, many solicitors seem to live by a law unto themselves. Our solicitor was a nightmare - he forgot to include some quite important information relating to land at the back of our house. Again, totally uncommunicative and thought he was untouchable. angry

faraday Tue 18-Aug-09 11:33:47

I don't want to talk to the vendor directly, tbh. I feel they're playing games to a certain extent. I now KNOW they were hanging out on us when they accepted our offer in order to get an offer in on a purchase themselves (and thus bind US into a 4 long chain!). Also their agent told US when we were rattling the cage a bit 3 weeks ago 'Careful, they 'know' (believe?) that if they readvertise they'll get £14K MORE for the property than you're paying'- which may be the case (crazy price thing happening here: school catchment!) BUT a) they're also buying in the same catchment we happen to know and THEIR vendors can pull the same trick on THEM and b) part of our offer is the fact we're cash, un-chained and renting! What price do you put on THAT?

Umlellala Wed 19-Aug-09 08:16:57

Oh how horrible for you. I do think though (naive, trusting sort that I am) that if you build a relationship with your vendor, they are less likely to be able to play those games. Having said that, I don't really want to be in direct contact with our buyer (prob cos I feel guilty that our house is a right state - not hiding anything though! is reflected in value and homebuyer's). So I understand.

They are probably just bluffing. Our vendors have been told by their new build company that they are going to put the house back on the market. Really, are you? hmm

Have you heard anything further? FWIW, we have just heard from our vendor's solicitor and everything is in place he just hasn't told anyone (so maybe a bit like yours). Tis a bit poor IMO, takes no time at all to fire off a one sentence email, but at least it is all being done.

Sending you happy homebuying vibes!

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