Lawyers going solo

Four solicitors give their very different views on how to develop conveyancing…Michael Garson is a partner at Phillip Hodges & Co and creator of IPSO.

Much has been said and written in the last year about the opportunities for solicitors to become involved in the house transfer process.

Effecting a sea-change in the composition of the market in terms of providers will take time and a great deal of capital. In the meantime, the opportunity is there for small firms to become more involved in the sale of property.

This interest may fall short of setting up a traditional stand-alone agency department, with its property and staffing requirements. If your clients know that they can register their interest with solicitors when looking for a property, the solicitor is immediately in possession of the opportunity to give preliminary advice and guidance and set up the mortgage arrangements.

Mortgage availability is key to the client's ability to perform in a fast-moving market. Solicitors must be able to sell property effectively for clients. Even if they do not wish to become directly involved in the sale, there are now the opportunities to delegate the instruction and give advice in the process.

The Independent Property Selling Organisation (IPSO) would like to see solicitors handling the whole property-selling process. Admittedly, this involves commercial risk and investment of time and money to acquire infrastructure and expertise.

There are a number of alternatives which range from subcontracting sale instructions to handling the sale transaction with the help of a supportive and knowledgeable property-selling advisory service. IPSO is offering that service for solicitors.

For those actively involved in setting up an agency, IPSO offers a safer passage with support by way of advice. For those who need active management to set up or weather a crisis, IPSO is able to offer resources.

Until now, IPSO has been a catalyst for change. That role will continue for some time, but as the year progresses, it is expected that it will develop into one of advisory support and, in some cases, active management.

IPSO is planning to launch its Adviser Link service this year to handle the sale of property in conjunction with solicitors and agents. It is specifically aimed at property owners over 60 to provide them with a professional and ethical organisation which will not take advantage of them.

IPSO intends to deliver this service on a regional basis, concentrating initially on the western half of the M25 which covers Greater London and some home counties. A network of co-operating agents be they solicitors or surveyors who can process sub-instruction and report back will enable IPSO to provide a caring and responsive service to those in the house owning community who have the most to lose.

The service will enable the legal profession to offer clients active assistance in areas such as:

how to choose and appoint an estate agent;

handling and monitoring your house sale;

changing your estate agent.