Moving with the times?

I’ve spent the last couple of days in Winchester, helping my brother & his family move house. All went well in the end, but we really need to fix the archaic English system of money transfers that happen on the day.

For those unfamiliar with the process, it usually involves the first solicitor in the chain pressing a button on some system which transfers the purchaser’s money to the vendor’s account, and unless there are cash buyers in the chain of purchases, this proceeds from solicitor to solicitor during the course of the day. When confirmation of each transfer is received, the estate agent hands over the keys.

In our case, five family members plus two removal men and a very large truck were waiting outside the house for a couple of hours until one solicitor came back from lunch, only then to discover that another solicitor had pressed the wrong button at 8.45 that morning so nothing had transferred. But nobody had informed anyone…

A similar confusion then happened later in the day to our vendors when they arrived at their new house… they had the keys, their belongings were being unloaded onto the front lawn, and the estate agent then screeched up in the car and tried to take the keys back because someone had misread the confirmation about their transfer and it hadn’t actually gone through.

I suspect other countries have this sorted out in a much better way which takes the unreliable lawyers out of the loop. Not least Scotland. They’re canny that way…

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser