Don’t be another reason your clients’ purchase gets delayed

June 7, 2023


Today’s Conveyancer reports that a story obtained by the Observer suggests that massive delays in the processing of registrations by HMLR are causing serious impact on homeowners and buyers alike.

The article contains horror story examples such as the homeowner who bought their shared ownership property in 2021 and have now discovered that it is still not registered, and another client who was restricted from completing a desperately needed new mortgage deal in the current climate by HMLR’s failure to process a request to add his wife to the title deeds after six months had elapsed from the request being made.

Property buying is stressful, and the most often cited reason for this is delays and the time taken for the process to complete. In the current marketplace, with interest rates still painfully high and lenders poised to pull and replace rates at a moment’s notice, small wonder that an issue such as this is causing even more frustration to those simply trying to buy or re-mortgage a home.

And that frustration is often directed at Conveyancers. Indeed, in January this year HMLR pointed the finger at conveyancers saying that they must put a stop to ‘avoidable errors’. The Observer’s data suggests that whereas HMLR’s claim that 98% of service enquiries are handled immediately or within  matter of weeks may hold true, updates to the register itself take more than a month in almost a third of cases. Worse, new entries and complex cases may take longer than a year in 62% of cases – nearly two thirds of such cases which account on average to 38,000 cases each month.

Conveyancers are no strangers to ‘carrying the can’ when things go wrong in a property transaction. Expected not simply to transact the conveyancing itself but also to chase mortgage brokers, lenders and estate agents for information, submit Stamp Duty Land Tax Returns and still be available to hold the hand of the client even as they may find themselves the object of their anger when timescales slip, it’s little wonder that fewer and fewer conveyancers are available, even as the number of transactions holds steady or rises. It’s a thankless job, and that’s before they have even made any errors.

Add in the recent revelation that over 10 million calls to HMRC’s Tax Helpline go unanswered, as the department allows more staff to work from home more often, and you have a recipe for much potential unpleasantness for the average conveyancer.

One of the core concepts of Compass has always been to be a tool which offers assistance to both homebuyers and their solicitors. By eliminating the risk of error in calculation, and rendering what can be a long and complex process (when done according to CMS guidelines and requirements) into a painless few clicks of a mouse button, Compass eliminates the potential for delays and wasted time in a key area of the process. It also eliminates the need to contact HMRC to enquire about complex or unusual cases, leading to a lower phone bill and doubtless lower blood pressure for your conveyancing department.

We can’t magically make HMLR more efficient (much as we might like to) and we can’t stop clients, estate agents and brokers expecting you to have a magic wand that allows all the cases they are involved in to complete yesterday. What we can do is offer a simple, hassle-free and cost effective way to avoid one of the major and potentially most costly pitfalls in the process, and remove one of the barriers to getting a case over the finish line. We’d like to think that’s worth its weight in gold, or perhaps just worth avoiding a wait on hold…

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