Mexican stand-off (or: It’s good to talk)

There should be no problems with stage 1 of the sale and purchase procedure: it should be a simple matter for the selling agents to contact the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors with details of the transaction – what can possibly go wrong? Assuming that the agent does not have a “senior moment” and simply forget to contact the solicitors – not unknown, for a very busy agent, but extremely rare – the only problem is if the buyer (or the seller) has not told his solicitor to expect to be contacted and to start work (or, worse still, has not chosen a solicitor)

Assuming that you want to get your sale or purchase up and running, you do need to tell your solicitor what is going on – they will not know telepathically! If they get a letter from an agent, saying they are acting, and they have not already been instructed by the seller or buyer as appropriate, they will probably write a letter to their prospective client, asking for confirmation of instructions. Don’t ignore that letter, or nothing will happen while you do. If you want to speed things up, take control by initiating contact with the solicitor yourself, and giving them all the details they ask for, so that they can get things moving

People often complain that solicitors are slow, and this is true more often than it should be. However, often it is the client’s failure to respond that slows things down, and solicitors are reluctant to chase clients or (especially) prospective clients for fear of seeming too pushy, resulting in a sort of Mexican stand-off! Avoid this by picking up the phone to your solicitor and ensuring that he or she knows what is expected.

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