The changing times of conveyancing

Terry Jones, Director and Head of Property talks about the changes he has experienced over the years in conveyancing.

“I was born and bred in Shropshire and started my career in law in Wellington which was a thriving market town surrounded by smaller towns such as Dawley, Oakengates and Madeley. Unlike Shrewsbury the area in which I worked was still extensively mined and had been the centre of the industrial revolution and was the mecca of the local industry.

This was my first introduction to conveyancing and in those early days we didn’t have too many aids such as local searches, coal mining searches and environmental searches.  If you had a problem with a property you went out to view the property in the hope of resolving your concerns.

Shropshire was not a compulsory registration area, so we had to rely on the most dreadful plans which were rarely to scale and the cause for so much litigation. All property was transferred between the parties by a Conveyance and in those days, we only had an old-fashioned typewriter to rely on. In short, the Deeds we had to rely on were pretty awful always assuming you had deeds at all.

New developments started “springing up” with the advent of Telford Development Corporation but few Developers undertook much due diligence and so you were in the lap of the gods as to whether a house you were buying had been built over a mine shaft or unstable land.

Completions were also an experience; no telephone or bank transfers or completion through the post. We had to rely on a bank draft and collect the keys in exchange plus the deeds.

Procedurally, we have thankfully moved on with the advent of technology and sophistication. We now have access to every conceivable aid there is in terms of identifying problem sites, what may affect that site and the extent of any problem. We can now alert our clients to the risk and their mortgagees. Search geologists can from space aids, tell us about ground stability, what rock and strata formations there are. We can find out what has gone on from years ago. Are there in fill sites, likely hood of being affected by wind turbines and anything that may affect the property in the future. We can now send money by bank transfer and receive money in the same way and ensure money is transmitted within minutes. Life is now so much more straightforward but as we seem to become more sophisticated, so we leave ourselves more prone to risk. Hacking and money laundering are so prevalent, we are that much more RISK ADVERSE and spend half our lives carrying out more due diligence than doing the job.”


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