Are there pixies in the garden?
People have certain preconceptions about legal work. They might think it's depressing, working with people who are getting divorced or being made bankrupt. They might think it's dramatic, like on TV, with last minute rushes to Court with the vital piece of evidence that wins the case. What I doubt anyone realises, is how funny it can be. What's more, the humour often comes from the most unlikely sources. Property law is usually thought of as being dull, and that can be right, but conveyancing can lead to the most laughter.
One man, desperately trying to sell his house, had three successive transactions fall through. He would get offers, but when the mortgage companies surveyor would come round to value it, they would always say it was too expensive. Eventually he convinced himself that all of the surveyors were prejudiced against him – they must all be Sunderland fans (who play in red and white) whereas his bathroom was black and white (Newcastle's colours – Sunderland's arch rival). I tried to convince him that he was over reacting, but he had the bathroom re-tiled in plain white, and the house sold the following week!
An elderly couple who I helped buy a flat some years ago, contacted me a few days later to express concern at some strange pictures that had been left behind by the young couple they'd bought it from. It turned out that the husband selling the house had forgotten about his stash of gay porn hidden in a cupboard. I had a hard time explaining to the couple what the magazines were. I had an even harder time persuading them that perhaps they shouldn't tell the wife of the outgoing couple what they'd found. After all, the outgoing couple weren't my clients so it wasn't like I was going to get the divorce work.
As anyone whose bought or sold a home will know, the buyers get to ask questions of the sellers about the property. We have standard questions such as information about boundaries, disputes with neighbours and repairs, but you can ask more questions and clients sometimes want particular information. One client insisted that he had a strange feeling when looking round the property, and wanted to know if they'd ever had trouble with spirits or poltergeists. I thought he was joking but sadly he wasn't. What was even more disappointing was that I didn't get to be in the office of the vendors solicitors when they read my letter!
So if you're thinking of buying and selling a property, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can talk you through the process and answer all of your questions, silly or serious.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors – the full service law firm – you won't end up a laughing stock with us.