Whether you are buying or selling a house, or both at once, you need an experienced solicitor on your team.

Today we talk to Dawn Owen who has recently joined the property team at WBW Solicitors Paignton Office.

What is the secret of good conveyancing?

There is a misconception that all conveyancing is repetitive and the same.  This is not the case and conveyancers usually find every one of their files is different in one way or another.

It is important to be client focused and realise the different needs of clients such as showing more empathy towards older clients or first-time buyers.

Whilst some terms and legal maxims are common knowledge to us, the average layperson will have no idea what you are talking about.  Do not use jargon or in-depth legal terms – advise them in plain English and terms they will understand.

At all times you have to be efficient and not cut corners or have a “that will do” attitude.  Every matter, whether expensive, cheap, complicated or not, is as important as all the others.

Each client must be made to feel important and that you are happy to act for them.  It is important the client does not feel forgotten about and is updated, even if just a call or email to say you are chasing matters.

I always find it is better to update agents too – this cuts down on the calls they make to you!  Try not avoid agents calls if possible.  I have lost count how many times in the past few years an agent has commented: “thank you for taking my call”.   They are part of the “process” after all.

What advice would you give to a vendor?

It is important for vendors to be honest when completing forms and answering enquiries.  Sometimes, people just simply do not know and so they must ensure they state this.

One of the worst scenarios conveyancers face is when offers are agreed and then all parties discuss between themselves and “agree” a completion date.  Sometimes, the legal work simply cannot be completed in the timescale envisaged and we are always “blamed” for delays.   I always advise anyone in a chain that no-one is ready until all parties are ready and that this has been confirmed by all solicitors in that chain.

Constantly chasing clients for information or return of documents is time-consuming and causes delays.  To avoid this, if we need something from them, we make this clear in initial letters.

What advice to give to a buyer?

First and foremost would be to undertake searches even if they are cash buyers.  This may reveal something that would change their mind in the proceeding and are certainly more valuable than purchasing and then being disappointed.

Surveys are always sensible too and again are relatively cheap compared to the price of the property.  I always point out to buyers that we usually do not see the property other than via a copy of the title deeds together with the estate agents brochure.  It is their responsibility to ensure that things like the central heating works.

Again, the same advice in relation to agreeing on dates at the onset of the matter.  Unfortunately, conveyancers do not have a crystal ball and cannot foresee title issues until papers have been received and inspected.

Provide us with as much detail as possible of the property.  Something which is not mentioned as the client feels it is insignificant can sometimes cause major difficulties if we are not made aware of it in time.

Check the plans we send you at the onset – again, we usually do not attend the property and have to take the property in its face value from the contract papers provided to us.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I am originally from Oldbury in the West Midlands but have lived in Lincolnshire (Skegness and surrounding areas) and also in South Wales (Tenby).  I moved to Paignton in May 2018 for an easier lifestyle with my husband.

In my 20’s I did competition clay pigeon shooting and was a Hereford and Worcester County Champion in the mid 90’s just missing out on being a GB reserve.

Alas, age and the onset of inflammatory arthritis ended all these many years ago but I have loads of trophies (currently in my parent’s loft) and won cash prizes – which effectively meant I was professional at the sport.  I also had sponsorship from Halifax Plc due to working for them as a mortgage underwriter until 1999.

Describe your ideal day?

Workwise – I prefer a busy but calm day.  If I have completions, I always like them to be done as early as possible rather than dragging on to the afternoon.  I still get a buzz calling a client to say they have completed, especially if they are first time buyers and are excited!

Spare time – spending time with my husband, walking, eating out, socialising and just enjoying life in general.  When we can, we like to travel.

Should you have a property matter that you wish to discuss with Dawn, please contact 01803 546119 or email: dawnowen@wbw.co.uk.