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i'm much do i prod my solicitor?

27 replies

queenrollo · 03/06/2009 10:54

i'm new to this housebuying game. We had an offer accepted on a house at the beginning of April, had survey done and two further investigations of which we have the report and there is nothing which the mortgage company are insisting is done before we purchase.
I received a mail from my solicitor on the 28th of May stating they are awaiting search results and replies to enquiries from the sellers solicitors. Once they have these they will send out a property report with the documents for signing. When these signed documents are returned then we can agree a completion date.

We are in rented accomodation and our lease is up for renewal soon, so it is becoming increasingly important for us to arrange a date for exchange/completion as if it is beyond our lease we will have to address this.(we will be faced with signing a 6 month lease and we want to avoid this)

Is my solicitor dragging her heels, or do these things always move at this pace? I don't want to prod her if things are progressing as they should but then i don't want to leave her to it if she could be moving things along faster.

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LIZS · 03/06/2009 11:41

Searches don't take very long so I'd call a and ask if/when they are due back and stipulating the date by which you need to move out, so they can coordinate timimg of the purchase to fit in.

queenrollo · 03/06/2009 11:49

thank you. i'll drop her an e-mail to ask for an update.

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iwouldgoouttonight · 03/06/2009 11:50

I've bought three houses and each time (with three different solicitors) I've had to ring them every couple of days to remind them to get a move on! The third time I chose a solicitor near to my work so I could pop in and sign the documents, etc and then take them myself to where they needed to go, as otherwise they do everything by post which seems to slow things down.

Twixabix · 03/06/2009 11:56

when we bought our last house I emailed our solicitor every day for updates but then ours was very long and drawn out with lots of hiccups along the way.

queenrollo · 03/06/2009 12:04

i've just had a conflab with dp who forgot to tell me he heard from solicitor yesterday. She said some searches were still outstanding and still awaiting response to sellers solicitors enquiries. He mailed her back and told her diplomatically to get a move on.
I hate having to wait for other people to do things, and have to resist the temptation to mail her everyday saying 'any news yet, come on woman'

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Tn0g · 03/06/2009 12:04

Solicitors are like wheelbarrows.

They don't move unless you push them.

Innat · 03/06/2009 15:20

oh god - same here. I just don't understand why it shoudl take so long to do somethign that they ahve to do all the time!?!

The searches should theoretically be able to be done in a week - that's what our solicitor told us. we are however waiting for some other information before instructing them to do the searches.

good luck i hope things get moving for you soon. it's very frustrating.

queenrollo · 03/06/2009 15:30

has anyone here been supplied with a HIP pack by the Estate Agent? i'm not sure when it became law you had to provide them. I've just had it pointed out to me that i should have been able to ask for one and these contain all the searches.

i don't want to be a grown up anymore - i want to go back to being an irresponsible youth, drinking cider in the bus shelter and sneaking a crafty fag behind the school swimming pool

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Innat · 03/06/2009 16:26

I think if the house went on the market before oct last year, it doesn't need a HIP (as is the case inthe property we are buying). Although I've heard on the grapevine that many solicitors still advise doing the searches anyway and that there are searches that need doing that aren't covered inthe HIP - in which case it seems like a bloody waste of time imo!

queen rollo - i'll join you in the bus shelter!

LIZS · 03/06/2009 17:19

I think the searches in the hip are not considered enough in their own right especially if done a while back. The vendor's solicitor has to confirm information re local council, suppliers of utilities etc so they know who to enquire of.

ouchitreallyhurts · 03/06/2009 18:42

Ours needs prodding almost daily - when we can get hold of her - and if I could I'd prod with a cattle prod I'm that fed up!!

today it was "well, we'll sort the paperwork next week then..." er no, we were hoping to move in 14 days time!

queenrollo · 04/06/2009 12:23

so do i phone her?

dp has emailed her twice in as many days to point out we need to complete by the end of july as our current lease runs out then, and that we are getting anxious about this. No response as yet........
i'm very grumpy today and feeling annoyed that she can't even dignify us with a response to let us know what is happening. Surely it doesn't take two weeks to complete searches? and i understand they are waiting for a response from the sellers sols too....but shouldn't she be pushing them?

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ouchitreallyhurts · 04/06/2009 12:36

yes - phone her. you are,after all, the customer and therefore paying for a service

queenrollo · 04/06/2009 13:03

we can check our progress online. she sent off the searches on the 20th of May and they are still not back. it says enquiries raised before contract drawn up on 26th may, still awaiting response from sellers solicitors.

just having a cuppa and then going to phone and ask why these issues haven't been resolved yet.

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alarkaspree · 04/06/2009 13:08

Joining in to agree with everyone else - conveyancing solicitors need constant nagging if they are to do anything. We had to prod not only our own solicitor but also our vendors', as they had moved abroad. It didn't occur to their solicitor that she might need to allow more than a day to post a form, have them sign it, and post it back.

queenrollo · 04/06/2009 13:19


'we're waiting for searches to come back'

'we're waiting for a response from their solicitor'

so i told to jolly well start chasing both of these.

then when i point out we need to let our landlord know what is going on and that having a small child means i need to have some idea of what is going on she asks if i will be moving into the property.

er, yes.....on account of how i am the other bloody name on the mortgage.
apparently i have to sign an occupation contract? what the hell is she on about. and she has dealt with me twice via e-mail, and yet had no idea who i was.
i'm rapidly losing confidence in her, and if no joy by next week i'm going to ask to speak to someone more senior. I am not paying to be fobbed off with poxy excuses.

goes away to make a calming cup of tea

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fridayschild · 04/06/2009 13:33

The occupational waiver is required when Mr buys the house and Mrs/Ms lives there but does not own it. Common in the 1950s but unusual nowadays, and it sounds like it's not what you intend. I would expect both partners to be named on the title deeds and therefore also on the mortgage.

If the search in the HIP is out of date or was a personal search rather than an offical search, it will need to be repeated. But the local authority in question will be able to tell the lawyer how long they are taking to process searches at the moment, so you can get that answer.

You should also ring the estate agent. Tell them that the seller's solicitor is not providing replies to enquiries. He can chase them, and he will, because he will not get paid until completion.

At the start of this saga you should have got a client care letter. This will set out the firm's complaints procedure. I recommend you fish this out and make a complaint. The lawyer does not seem to know who her client is (ie you and DH together). She has also failed to take proper instructions on the transaction (ie because you are in rented accommodation it is critical that you exchange in good time before you need to renew your lease). If you cannot find the letter write to the Senior Partner. If you never got the letter this is a breach of solicitors' professional conduct rules. Write to the Senior Partner about that too.

Then having given your solicitor a kick up the bottom from the boss, follow up (so much nicer than chasing!) with her by phone regularly. E mails are too easy to ignore, although useful if you can never get through on the phone.

I have to say this chasing is often required because people look for the cheapest solicitor they can find. Really, service levels are a better question to ask than price, and you find out about that from personal recommendations. But if you've gone for cheap because money is tight, you just need to make sure that your over-worked and underpaid lawyer does your work before the next file, and the way to do that is to pick up the phone. And then confess my bias, as I am a solicitor myself!

Good luck.

queenrollo · 04/06/2009 13:45

fridays the back of mind i think to myself i really don't want to keep badgering her because maybe she is really busy.
I'm beginning to think she is just imcompetant though.......she has requested a buildings insurance proposal, and i had to point out to her i can't get one until i have an exchange date. Surely she should know this?

thankyou for your advice.

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queenrollo · 09/06/2009 14:31

how's everyone else getting on?

i've had a call from my bank this morning. I have upgraded to a different account to take advantage of their mortgage offer. This in itself has been a shambles but she told me that the mortgage is ready to go and they are simply waiting for the Land Registry documents to arrive and they will release funds.

DP has mailed our solicitor again this morning to point out it has now been 3 weeks since she sent the searches off and just what is it that we are waiting for? He is too busy at work to phone her, but if no response today then i may have get my grumpy self on the phone to her again.

There is a possible land dispute and i wonder if this is holding it up, it is something we discussed with the vendor when we looked round and we think we're going to have to take out indemnity insurance (have i got that right?) is over a small portion of the garden.

Why can't our solicitor be transparent about exactly what it is we are waiting for? That is the thing i am finding most frustrating now.

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lizzy77 · 09/06/2009 19:35

we had the same problem when we bought our house. The estate agents were much more on the ball than the solicitors.

They just put yuo at the bottom of their intray and get on with more exciting/profitable clients.

Got to keep phoning them.

queenrollo · 09/06/2009 19:56

Dp is working from home tomorrow so is going to phone her. He deals with very difficult people at work all day and is very good at diplomatically making things happen. He uses big words it scares them into action i think.....

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wombleprincess · 09/06/2009 21:01

tbh it also sounds like the vendor's solicitor is dragging their heels, so you should be kicking your estate agent up the nether regionss too. your solicitor cant make searches happen quicker, som LA's are just very slow.

ouchitreallyhurts · 10/06/2009 08:17

Its so frustrating queenrollo isn't it? we are in almost same boat as you - our EA is magic!! really good at updating but the solicitor has no sense of urgency whatsoever. we are actually due to move in next thursday (18th) but are still to exchange!!! nightmare...
hope your dp manages to move things along..

queenrollo · 10/06/2009 11:31

he's phoned this morning. The searches are back (his response 'so were you going to tell me that at some point?') and he asked why we haven't had our contract sent out yet. She said she is waiting to collate all the info to send it all together, but DP pointed out that is not what their website states, so he has requested the contract and she has gone to check with her supervisor

He has also phoned the EA who was very friendly and knows that the seller's solicitor is round the corner from her office and so she is going round in person to chivvy them along.

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queenrollo · 10/06/2009 12:01

EA just phoned, seller has a meeting with solicitor this afternoon and so we should hear something tomorrow. They seemed to think things were progressing ok.

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