Whether you are buying or selling a house, or both at once, you need an experienced solicitor on your team. Today we talk to Paula Land – Chartered Legal Executive and part of the property team at WBW Solicitors Honiton Office.

Where abouts do you live and what makes it special? I live in Honiton, and always have apart from a brief flirtation with Sidmouth when I was first married. I have seen it evolve from a small sleepy market town to a vibrant and active hub of commerce and industry, but at the same time managing to retain its strong sense of community. There are an incredible number of people in the town who selflessly give of their time and energy in order to help make it a better place for everyone.

What made you decide to go into law? I can remember when I was quite young watching a television programme about a female barrister and thinking “I could do that”. It was probably the Court robes and wig that I was more interested in at the time to be fair. However, I did later develop an interest in the law generally, although the most I ever actually got to do in Court was dealing with a licencing application in the local Magistrate’s Court – and just doing that left me a nervous wreck.

Describe your specialism/s? I deal exclusively with Residential Conveyancing. When I joined my first law firm as a junior shorthand typist it was the area of law that I worked in most often, and the one I felt most affinity with. I deal with all aspects of buying, selling, mortgaging and transfer of ownership of both freehold and leasehold properties.

Why do you enjoy your particular field? There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get from ringing up a client and saying “We’ve completed, you can go to the Agents and collect your keys”. I enjoy guiding people through what is often a stressful and bewildering process, particularly at the extreme ends of the scale – from the youngsters who are buying their first property and don’t quite know what to expect to the elderly client at the other end who may have bought and sold many times during their lives. I’ve become very adept at hand-holding over the years.

What have been the most interesting developments in your industry during 2018? Some of the proposed changes that are still in the pipeline. One is that the Land Registry should take over from the Local Authorities, the task of processing replies to Local Authority Searches which are part of the purchase procedure. I suspect the Local Authorities may be extremely resistant to this, and there are questions as to how reliable and up to date the information provided by the Land Registry would be. Also, there is a consultation under way regarding limiting the ability of developers to sell properties on a Leasehold basis where there is no legitimate need for this.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your profession? That it’s simple and straightforward and can be done by ticking the boxes on a checklist. That is far from the case and each transaction needs to be scrutinised very carefully. Every title has its own particular quirks and peculiarities, and even a registered title cannot be relied on to be wholly correct. Not long ago I dealt with the purchase of an estate property that had been built over twenty years ago, and which had since been bought and sold several times. Unfortunately, no one seemed to have noticed that the property shown on the title plan.

What do you do to relax? I am a longstanding member of The National Trust, and when I have any free time one of my favourite things to do is visit their properties and gardens. I always buy a copy of the guide book and now have quite an extensive collection.

Surprise us… I originally trained to be a bilingual secretary, but after I left college and completed my compulsory work experience abroad to obtain my diploma, I realised my French shorthand was sadly never going to take me to the top!

Should you have a property matter that you wish to discuss with Paula, please contact 01404 540024 or email: paulaland@wbw.co.uk.