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Tackling complex conveyancing matters and why they stall

In Landmark’s Q1 2023 Commercial Property Trends Report, the data indicated that large planning application volumes were consistently above our benchmark Q1 2019 levels. With legislation such as the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, we may start to see an increase in complex conveyancing matters progressing, including new developments and social housing portfolios.

Taking on large and complex commercial sites or developments can be challenging.   

Our customers tell us that the most frequent issues they face with managing a large conveyancing portfolio are:

  • Plan and address issues
  • Unexpected, additional questions from third-party suppliers
  • Managing deadlines
  • Spiralling costs due to complexity and over-running deadlines

In England and Wales, the average time for a residential house completion is 133 days, but with complex matters often spanning hundreds of hectares or numerous properties, commercial projects can take far longer. In the current climate, ensuring efficient processes are driven in all cases is essential to providing a streamlined service for your clients and freeing up valuable time for your staff to focus on the critical matters.

Why are complex sites so challenging?    

The myriad of administrative tasks that are involved when handling complex portfolios are inevitably time-consuming.

From gathering quotes to manually ordering sometimes hundreds of searches, to keeping track of any queries, and towards the end, proactively chasing the suppliers to keep within your deadline for completion. Not forgetting to mention managing your client’s budget, when dealing with such a large-scale site, can also be an extensive task.

Once completion has been achieved, there is still plenty of paperwork to complete before the case can be successfully concluded and the greater in complexity a matter is, the more time consuming SDLT forms and AP1s can become.

Since managing these tasks, along with your other caseloads, can be overwhelming it’s clear that we should focus on how to reduce the risks and complexity, and simplify the administration wherever possible.

How can complex portfolios be better taken on?    

To unpick this challenge and see where best to focus, we asked our specialist commercial Portfolio Team to share their experience on what the top three most common reasons for a complex transaction to stall were:

  • Mismatched data – predominantly between the plan and the address.
  • Missing information – most often, the data missing is the billing and occupier information.
  • Data provider setbacks - some providers have limited staff. If key staff are on leave or off sick, turnaround times can be increased, and backlogs can quickly form.

With these thoughts in mind, along with insights we gathered working closely with customers, our Portfolio service has been tailored so every customer has their own dedicated team. They are experts in managing these classes of issue, aiming to tackle and resolving as many things in advance as possible. This has the effect of reducing costs and delivering results reliably on time or even earlier.

Our Portfolio team have been involved with a vast array of complex transactions, including entire estates of houses, large securitisation projects and commercial redevelopments, to name a few. Their adaptability means that no case is too complex for them to tackle. So far, they have assisted with over 62,000 instructions for the UK’s leading Real Estate Departments. DWF are just one of the firms we have been supporting; and they confirmed, “It would be so much harder dealing with separate instructions without you.”

Last year, SearchFlow also confirmed our partnership with the Communities and Housing Investment Consortium (CHIC), giving their members access to our Portfolio service to assist them with any large-scale social housing transactions through our new Conveyancing Search Framework. 

Whilst work volumes may be increasing and juggling large portfolios remain complex, SearchFlow is here to support you working on solutions to make these types of transactions as streamlined and efficient as possible.

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