Five minutes with Head of Residential Conveyancing Alan Williams
When did you join Gullands?
I joined Gullands in December 2010 having previously been a Partner at Slater Heelis in Cheshire.
Describe a typical day for you?
Work typically starts around 8:30am reviewing emails that have come in since finishing work the previous day. When the incoming post has been opened and checked I will deal with the post and emails during the course of the day.
I will draft and review sale and purchase contracts in connection with the property transactions and supporting documentation, speak to all parties involved in the conveyancing transaction on the telephone and attending on clients in person in order to sign their sale and purchase documentation. Quite a large part of the day can be spent dealing with enquiries from potential clients with regard to the procedures involved and costs. The most satisfying part of a typical day will be carrying out an exchange of contracts for clients and completing client transactions.
What is the most valuable house that you have helped a client sell or purchase?
The most valuable property transaction in which I have been involved did not actually complete. I was involved in the initial stages of the proposed sale of a property valued at £14 million which was to be sub-divided and a part of the property sold off to a Premier League Footballer. Unfortunately the footballer in question was transferred and the sale did not go ahead. I handle transactions ranging from the transfer of a small area of land for a nominal consideration to houses valued in the millions.
What are the most common legal issues affecting the conveyancing of residential properties?
The most common legal issues tend to relate to where works have been carried out to the property potentially without the obtaining of the appropriate Planning Permission, Building Regulations approval or consent required under the title deeds and documents. However each transaction is different and brings with it its own issues, whether these relate to the legal process or the personalities of the parties involved.
What is the most unusual property you have worked on buying or selling?
I have acted on many varying transactions from the sale off of a lounge underneath an adjoining owners bedroom in order to “tidy up” a flying freehold situation, through to the proposed sale to the Premiership Footballer referred to above.
What changes would you like to see in the law that would help people buy and sell property?
I do not know how this would best be achieved but ideally a greater degree of certainty from the point at which an offer is accepted on the property in terms of the price and completion date. The Law Society has recently introduced a new accreditation scheme known as “The Conveyancing Quality Standards” which whilst not imposing any greater certainty should provide more transparency as to the position of other parties in the “chain”, which will assist the parties in having a realistic time frame to work towards.
What is your greatest career achievement to date?
Initially qualifying as a Solicitor having studied extensively initially to qualify as an Associate Legal Executive and then doing a law degree at night school whilst working full time, subsequently being appointed a Partner at Slater Heelis, and most recently being appointed as Head of Residential Conveyancing at Gullands.
How do you relax in your spare time?
I enjoy being out and about with my partner and her two children. I also still try to play football on a regular basis and I race competitively in a two person sailing dinghy known as a Snipe.