Working together for you
THE process of buying and selling property in the Exeter area could be about to get even easier.
A new partnership between the Exeter Estate Agents Association and a number of local solicitors aims to make the legal formalities involved in a transaction quick and hassle-free for those moving home.
Both groups have signed a charter pledging to "endeavour to reach exchange of contracts in the shortest possible time" once a sale has been agreed.
It marks the culmination of three years of closer cooperation between property agents and solicitors in the city.
EEAA chairman James Baker, of Strutt & Parker, said: "This has been in the melting pot for the past three years and when I took over as chairman of the association I made it my first goal to get it finalised.
"The whole reason is to shorten the timeframe for exchange of contracts when agents have agreed a sale."
He added: "On the whole, we have a good working relationship between agents and solicitors already. It's a small city and we all know each other.
"This is just about having a rule book which both agents and solicitors have to comply with. If anyone has an issue they can ring us and know what we have committed to do. It's just another way of improving the service to our clients."
Agents have signed up to an eight-point list of responsibilities, which include: emailing all parties the memorandum of sale within one working day of the sale being agreed; and supplying full chain details together with any realistic time constraints within two working days.
The 13-point solicitors' charter sets out responsibilities including: replying to all correspondence within a maximum of two working days, but with a target of one working day; and ensuring all parties are aware of a target date for exchange of contracts as soon as possible and using all reasonable steps to achieve the date.
Mr Baker said: "It should speed up the process. We all like to get contracts as quickly as possible, and we have seen in recent years the time period get longer and longer for various reasons. It's probably eight to 12 weeks on average. We would love to shorten it by a month."
Felix Medland, of Ford Simey solicitors, said: "Ford Simey is pleased to be at the forefront of this innovative new charter, which aims to make the process of buying and selling a home in our local community a faster and more satisfying experience for all the parties concerned.
"We have worked to produce an agreement under which the property transaction process can be completed as quickly as possible and with minimum stress.
"Once the decision to buy or sell a property has been made, it is vital that all professionals communicate effectively to achieve the best results for their clients.
"Solicitors and estate agents will be encouraged to work together more meaningfully ensuring the valuation is right; finances are in place; the legal issues are undertaken and others involved are kept fully informed about target dates."
The law firms signed to the charter are: Ford Simey, Foot Anstey, Ashfords, Everys, Dunn & Baker, Gilbert Stephens, Michelmores, Stones Solicitors, Veitch Penny, Crosse & Crosse, Morgan & Pope, Tozers and Symes, Robinson & Lee.