Property Solicitors in Kidderminster | HB 121 Solicitors

More home thoughts from Kidderminster

Well we weren’t expecting that; well not yet. We’d all listened to the Prime Minister telling us on Sunday (at that long awaited announcement) that there would be gradual relaxation of the lockdown and more details would follow, and then when I got up two days later and looked at my phone the News told me that the Housing Market has been opened up again.

Welcome though it may be a bit of notice would have been nice. We were expecting, through the grapevine, that the beginning of June was when things would ease. And why do the government announce things to the public before giving the people at the sharp end any details. Guidance was released later that day but, as we might have been expected,only a little light on what we really needed to know. Clients ring expecting us to know exactly how they will be affected when we knew nothing of it or how it would possibly work in practice,until a few hours earlier.

Most Property Solicitors firms are still partly, or more significantly, shut; not answering the phone (or as people are working remotely are not available to answer the call and have to ring back only for you not to be available and so the whole cycle starts again). Anything involving a government department is either not taking calls in the first place or is virtually impossible to get through to (I guess the government omitted to tell them too, or, at least doesn’t realise that we have to interact with them). Estate agents are generally shut and working from home and were as surprised as we were. Banks and other lenders likewise. Banks are also only open short hoursfor when we have to visit the branch in person – which we have to do quite often.

Although we as a residential conveyancing solicitors have been active throughout the lockdown to crank everything up without warning was a bit of a tall order. A bit like after a rail breakdown when trains and other necessary items are not where they are supposed to be and it can take quite a time to get things where they are supposed to be. Staff have been working remotely and aren’t with the files. Staff with children can’t simply turn up as schools are not open yet (and from the latest news don’t look like they will be open for some time) and then the summer holidays will be on us. I have every sympathy with the Government who have had to deal with a completely unexpected and unique set of circumstances with no precedent but then you would have thought a little dialogue with those doing the job would be beneficial. This may be a bit of an age thing but I do think that when we had politicians with life experience of running businesses instead of younger career politicians they had a better grip of how to deal with things.

Anyway moan over - let’s be positive.

We will start seeing people again whilst, of course, observing social distancing and other necessary measures. Post will start getting back to normal (yes some things are still done through the mail and we need actual “wet“ signatures in some cases). Some identification procedures have been relaxed but whether they will remain relaxed we shall have to see. Conveyancing Solicitors have become good at being imaginative and I am sure some of the things conveyancer and property lawyer at our firm have introduced will become standard though I suspect some will slip back to what we are used to and comfortable with. I am afraid I remember the postal strike which saw the major use of the then fairly new innovation that was the fax machine bringing us more immediate contact (though not giving us the benefit of time to think!) Those days when the advent of insstant emails were a glimmer! The point is though that with all the stresses, strains and pressure there usually comes the dawn of some new innovations and procedures that come to benefit all.

It may not feel it now when we are trying to juggle so many things but there may be some goodto come out of the crisis we now find ourselves in.

We must hope we don’t find ourselves facing a second spike and all of us have responsibility to try and see that this never happens. As I write this the R number is threatening to go back up but the scientists say this information is three weeks old and needs detailed analysis. So when it is going down we can all be grateful and don’t need to further analyse but when it is going up then it needs further looking into - pardon my cynicism!

Is the market simply going to now pick up where it left off with no withdrawals price drops or further delays? I am afraid I have no crystal ball but I would say that such markets are based on perception. If we are pessimistic then the market almost certainly will become depressed; if we are optimistic then there is no real reason why it can’t just get going again. It is hardly surprising that the economy has shrunk- it has basically been shut for the last two months except for supermarkets. Many economists are thinking they’ll be a fairly quick bounce back. If Banks and other lenders keep supporting the economy without putting hurdles in the way (cumbersome forms which need a degree in form-filling to complete in some cases) with people who haven’t found themselves in such situations of even having to apply for help before) then I think we all would like to get back to where we were.

We can help make it possible - Be Positive but use your common sense and don’t let the virus take a grip again.


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