Let the buyer beware …

Until this morning, I had planned to sell my present home and buy another. Now, thanks to extraordinary incompetence on the part of my solicitors, both deals are in grave jeopardy. I’m finding it hard to understand why the lives of willing home buyers and sellers must be subjected to the lottery of legal competence.

Neither my solicitor, nor those of the buyer of my present home or the seller of my desired new home, emerge from this with much credit. Although conveyancing is among the lower end of legal skills, it appears to be a bridge too far for any of the firms of conveyancing specialists with whom I’ve had the bad luck to deal.

I tell you this so that you will know what to do, should you find yourself wanting to buy or sell a home. Do not rely on your legal people to do anything right. If you’re lucky enough to find people who work five days a week (I wasn’t), ride them like a jockey rides a horse in a big race: hard, with liberal use of the whip. Call daily or more frequently, to keep their attention.

My solicitor took all the fees in advance and will therefore be paid whether the job is done or not, and good luck (I’m told) trying to sue one.

Worse, if I were to name the solicitor in question, I would automatically lose any law suit brought against me for defamation of character. Insulting a lawyer is actionable per se, i.e. the lawyer does not have to prove damage. The statement is the damage. Who, do you suppose, wrote that law?

In reality, I stand to lose about £8,000 ($12,000) when the transactions crater. Because exchanging contracts inside three months (with no chain) has proved beyond my attorney’s capabilities, I have not been able to put up a deposit on my new home, and so won’t lose even more money.

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