Conveyancing – a system in crisis
There has been much written about the conveyancing process and the slow process of sales of properties in recent weeks. It is now a well-known fact that most residential sales are taking approximately 12 weeks in order to complete. Unfortunately, Solicitors are bearing the brunt of the blame but in reality, we are the thunder rod for a system which is archaic and broken and bureaucratic far removed from an ideal e-conveyancing system that we were all promised at the end of the last millennium.
More recently a firm of Auctioneers in Dublin took the bold step by insisting that Purchasers first of all contact their Solicitors before any sale who in turn must confirm that they will promise to issue Contracts within a period of three weeks from the date of the Auctioneer agreeing the sale of the property. This approach enlisted a good response from Auctioneers which is understandable as once they agree the sale of the property they rely on the next service provider such as Solicitors, Engineers and the Banks to progress the matter. Unfortunately, it is not as simplistic as that.
In more recent times bureaucracy has multiplied in respect of any transaction has due to Planning issues especially non-compliance, lack of tax clearance certificates from the multitude of new taxes such as LPT, NPPR, Household Charge, Septic Tank charges and more recently the nightmare of dealing Receivers and vulture funds who it seems have no grasp of the process.
Rather than complaining we as a Profession have to get on with the job and deal with the broken system as best we can. Unfortunately, as we are at the coalface in the transactions we are left shoulder the blame for the broken system.
What is the answer? There has been much discussion on simplifying the process and more recently the Law Society indicated that they wished to move to the Australian model which places the emphasis on the seller producing all of the various documentation at the outset. In Ireland the principle of caveat emptor applies which means let the buyer beware so it is a matter of the Purchasers Solicitors and their Engineer to spot any potential title and planning difficulties. This would mean that the emphasis is on the Seller to disclose all the issues with the property upfront rather than a purchaser spending endless money on surveys and Solicitors not to mention heartache unearthing problems with transactions which are probably doomed to fail from the outset
Whilst I do not propose to change the system there are some simple steps which a Seller could do prior to placing a property on the market for sale. The list below is a list I provide to clients once they agree to sell a property.
The first step is to contact their Solicitor before they appoint an Auctioneer. Unfortunately, clients most times only contact us once the property is sale agreed. Immediately this adds 2-3 weeks to the process as it can take that long to source the title deeds from the Bank if the property is mortgaged. If there is a vulture fund involved or a new bank, then this process is slowed down considerably as they are sifting through files which they may have only recently taken over and they have yet to get a handle on. The other matters on the list can also be teased out in an initial meeting to deal with the issue head on rather than waiting to see if any purchaser will spot the problem which inevitably will cause a delay in sorting it then rather than at the outset. Why take the risk of losing a sale involving a substantial asset speak to your Solicitor first!
We at Eoin Murphy Solicitors are experienced in conveyancing and highly rated by our clients in this area call us now for a consultation.
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