a day in the life of a carrier…
In a welcome return to one of my favorite series – and timely, given the current back and forth between agents and transfer agents over who is to blame for delays and delays – this day in the …piece life gives us an idea of what the average day of a transport agent looks like.
Alicia Sheath (pictured below) joined the real estate industry aged just 17 as an apprentice at a local law firm. She joined Rowlinsons Solicitors in 2016 and has since graduated as a Transfer Technician with CLC. From apartments to listed buildings and new construction, Alicia takes care of everything.
With the caveat that no two transfer days are ever the same, Alicia gave us a glimpse of what an average day looks like in one of the busiest markets in the country.
6am: After many repeated alarms, it’s time to get up. I’m not much of a morning person and so my mornings involve a lot of coffee. My two French bulldogs, Arnold and Elsa, aren’t grateful for early preparations, but there’s nothing worse than getting ready for work in a hurry.
8am: My commute to work usually only takes 20 minutes – provided the M56 isn’t playing! I subscribe to several channels on Spotify and listen to podcasts from time to time to pass the time. One of my favorites is “Conveyancing Coffee Break,” which is great for getting the latest updates on conveyancing. I then arrive at work around 8am. It gives me a head start to catch up on last night’s emails and gives me a chance to make another coffee before the staff kitchen rush begins!
I spend the first half hour or so catching up with my assistant Cerys and planning the day ahead. This includes organizing our accomplishments for the day and submitting relevant payment requests to our accounts department. I then settle any urgent matters on my to-do list and return any calls left the night before.
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.: I spend much of the day reviewing contract and title packs, raising questions, and reporting back to clients on their contents. The type of questions I deal with decipher how far I can go. I could ask about two or three freehold properties in the time it takes to review a contract pack and associated paperwork on an apartment! This is definitely the most time-consuming part of the job that requires a lot of concentration and can be taxing, especially on days when the phone keeps ringing.
This is where I often find out about upcoming issues on each case and it gives me a rough estimate of how long a transaction might take. Unfortunately, a common problem that I encounter more often than I would like is faulty leases that need rectification. It’s never pleasant to have to deliver this news to a client who thought he would arrive before the end of the school holidays (or Christmas!).
12 p.m.: Most completions take place at this time and it is arguably the best time of day. There’s nothing more satisfying than letting a client know they can finally pick up the keys to their new home – even if you agents often get ahead of us!
1 p.m.: Lunchtime begins when the sandwich van arrives loudly playing Booker T’s “Soul Limbo” (aka the BBC cricket theme). I try to bring my own lunches most of the time, but often take a trip to the sandwich van instead – I blame the sausage rolls.
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.: The rest of the afternoon is usually spent answering emails and phone calls. I also use this time to follow up on outstanding issues and to update clients whose cases I worked on today. I am fortunate to deal with properties mainly based in the area which means I have great working relationships with local agents who are always on hand to help me when needed. It makes my life so much easier!
4 p.m.: The mail is out – fingers crossed the postman didn’t offer me a big bundle of deeds for unregistered property. Most of the time, I get my wish. Sometimes I don’t. I then delete as many emails as possible before evaluating the completions I have for the next day and the rest of the week.
It’s usually towards the end of the day that I’ll deal with post-completion requirements. This includes paying stamp duty, serving required notices on landlords, checking with clients who have recently completed and forwarding records to our department after completion. My all-time favorite post-completion call has to be with a client who, during the phone call, realized he forgot to take his cat on the go. I still wonder to this day if the cat ever forgave him…..
5:15 p.m.: Home time! A quick check of Google Maps shows me the quickest way home – getting home before 6pm is a feat.
7 p.m.: After doing something quick for tea, I log back in to make sure we have everything we need for the next day and completions. I will also use this downtime to focus on complex matters without the regular ping of my inbox distracting me. Although I try not to make it a habit, as I believe a good work-life balance is very important, the occasional extra hour or two doesn’t hurt and benefits my clients.
10 p.m.: I will use this time to catch up on soaps and take a trip to the gym every once in a while. I then go to bed ready to see what tomorrow has in store for us.
Thanks for the terrific insight, Alicia. It certainly looks like a busy and busy day.
Until next time…
*Nat Daniels is CEO of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today. Follow him on Twitter @NatDaniels.