With property sales taking longer to complete in the current climate, agents often recommend Hewitsons to clients as, besides its recognised and respected expertise, the firm’s IT systems are state-of-the art, according to partner Clare Martin.
“With several local councils, HM Land Registry and other authorities now taking longer to process their elements of property sales, it is important that your solicitors don’t contribute further to the delay with antiquated IT systems”, said Clare, head of the residential property team at the firm.
She said: “With the stamp duty holiday and the pandemic having a significant impact on property sales, all solicitors have been extremely busy, but Hewitsons’ peak in activity is not only down to the excellence of service provided by the team, but also down to the firm having invested substantially in technology several years ago, meaning we have been able to work seamlessly from home and provide a quick and efficient service.
“That has been very positive for clients and agents, who come to us both because of the superb team of professionals we have and because our IT is of such a high standard.
“Several solicitors in the UK have had no option but to go into office every day during the pandemic, because their IT systems are so inadequate. I can say, with my hand on my heart, that many of our clients didn't realise we weren't in the office!”
The stamp duty holiday was due to finish on 31 March but has been extended to 30 June, which has contributed to the busy team being approximately 150% up on the number of completions, compared to a non-pandemic year.
Clare added: “Since the release after the first lockdown, it feels like everybody decided to move! With much of the population having worked from home for the past year – and that trend likely to continue to some degree – there remains a substantial trend to leave the big cities and relocate to somewhere more rural, where property can often be considerably cheaper, quieter and without the usual strenuous commute.
“Throughout all this, the team at Hewitsons has been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic to clients and colleagues alike. They have worked all hours to deliver absolute client focus and their stamina is amazing, as they energise and motivate each other.”
More staff have been added to the team, which comprises legal director Simon Cooper, associate Bradley Armorgie, solicitor Alice Gathern and licensed conveyancer Catherine Bowland.
There is no sign of the peak in property sales abating, with some agents predicting a surge in the economy later in the year.
Clare added: “Because the state institutes are running behind usual timelines, preparation is crucial to home buyers. If you need documentation, certificates and the like, don’t delay in getting your preparation done, as it is going to take much longer than you think. Put aside as much times as possible for buying and selling. Preparation is key. Otherwise you will miss out.”