In Conversation With Sophie Jones: Residential Conveyancing With William Sturges

by | Wednesday 29th May 2024 | Mortgage Insights

Sophie Jones, residential conveyancing partner at William Sturges and Louis Mason from Oportfolio Mortgages

Sophie Jones, residential conveyancing partner at William Sturges and Louis Mason from Oportfolio Mortgages

Welcome to our exclusive interview with Sophie Jones, residential conveyancing solicitor and partner at William Sturges Solicitors, a prominent legal firm based in central London. After well over one hundred years of trading, William Sturges has established itself as a leader in legal matters in the heart of the city. A firm renowned for its exceptional service and unbeatable commitment to client satisfaction, William Sturges is the go-to place for legal representation in property transactions.

As a mortgage broker specialising in London properties, partnering with esteemed professionals like Sophie Jones and William Sturges allows us to provide unparalleled service to our clients, every step along the property buying process. Sophie graciously agreed to sit down with Content and Communications Director at Oportfolio Mortgages, Louis Mason, in William Sturges’ St. James’s Park office to offer a few insights into the world of residential property conveyancing. In this engaging conversation, Sophie shares her journey as a property conveyancer, and offers a ‘behind the scenes’ look into the residential property market in London and beyond.

The Interview With Sophie Jones. Residential Conveyancing Expert At William Sturges Solicitors

Louis: Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a residential property solicitor, and what drew you to this area of law?

Sophie: I have been here at William Sturges for nearly 22 years. I trained here and worked my way up and became a partner here in 2008. When you first arrive at a legal firm and do your training contract, you go around to various departments to get a good broad range of experience across all different sectors of law. My very first seat was in residential conveyancing, and I got on extremely well there and found the job and the team interesting. After going round the other departments, I gravitated back to residential conveyancing, and I have been here ever since. And it is just snowballed from there!

Louis: As a solicitor at William Sturges, what are some key aspects of your role in facilitating property transactions?

Sophie: We get involved, in the grand scheme of things, at a relatively late stage to be honest. By the time we get involved, the buyer has already been through most of the buying process and once an offer has been received and financing has all been put into place they think “Ah, now I need a solicitor!.” And so that is when we come on-board. We come in to really try and get that transaction to go through as efficiently as possible, making sure that everything is dealt with correctly and that the client fully understands what they are buying or selling, as the case may be. If there are any issues with the title, or the way that the property is structured or managed, then that is all straightened out and any problems are dealt with. We are really holding our client’s hand throughout all of this to try and get to exchange of contracts and eventually completion. Quite often acting as a confidant in the stresses of the process, rather than just the person who is checking the title for them!

The William Sturges head office is based at Burwood House, 14-16 Caxton St, London SW1H 0QY

The William Sturges head office is based at Burwood House, 14-16 Caxton St, London SW1H 0QY

Louis: Could you tell us about William Sturges Solicitors and what sets it apart in the world of residential property law?

Sophie: We have been around for a very long time. William Sturges himself set us up around 144 years ago. Our senior partner is visiting William Sturges Jr. today, who is the grandson of our founder! So, it is quite nice to know that we have this strong history with our firm. We are a full-service firm, so we do all types of law aside from criminal law. Our client base is both private clients and commercial, and much of our client base comes through repeat business or recommendations. What I believe sets us apart from a lot of conveyancers is that when you deal with a lot of other conveyancing firms, you might speak to a team of people, and rarely to the actual solicitor or lawyer dealing with your transaction. You are speaking to case handlers, and it might be someone different each time. With us, if you instruct me…you get me! We’re quite a small team, but when a client phones us to speak with me, you will talk directly to me. I will reply to your email. It will not be somebody else. I hope that our clients understand that the service they will get from us is very personal, and they will get me doing the work for them, and not a call handler.

Louis: In your experience, how crucial is effective communication and collaboration between solicitors, estate agents, buyers, and mortgage brokers in the home buying process?

Sophie: Essential! It may well be a difficult transaction for both a buyer and a seller, there is no skirting around that. It is key that all the players in the process are communicating with each other, talking to each other, keeping each other updated to alleviate and avoid as much of the stress as possible for the client. Things can swiftly unravel if there is a poor communicator within that scenario.

Louis: What are some common challenges you encounter when coordinating with other professionals involved in property transactions, and how do you navigate them?

Sophie: Well, it is refreshing and enjoyable when, on the other side of the transaction, you have a team of players (solicitor/estate agent/broker) that communicate well with you and are efficient. It is when you do not have any response from the other side of the transaction or do not get a sensible response that starts raising issues. Our job is to make the transaction as stress free as possible, and if you cannot update your client with everything that is going on, then it just increases the stress unnecessarily. So, it goes back to communication again. If you do not get the right kind of communication from the other side of the transaction, then that can really throw a spanner in the works. There will undoubtedly be issues that arise with things like issues with the chain, title problems, leases needing to be amended, building regulations, you name it. But none of these problems are insurmountable if everyone works together and collaborates and communicates.

Louis: How does William Sturges ensure a smooth and efficient process for clients amidst the complexities of property transactions?

Sophie: Again, to try and keep things as stress free as possible for the client is essential for us. What I like to do is ensure that a call or an email to me is replied to within 24 hours, even if that might be just to acknowledge receipt of the call or email and to say that I am working on things behind the scenes. That way the client can rest assured that I am on things. We understand that everyone is under pressure, and we are all subject to the same issues. Having a degree of understanding and empathy for everyone else is something we really pride ourselves on.

Louis: Could you share an example of a particularly rewarding or challenging case you have managed, and what lessons you learned from it?

Sophie: I would say that every case is rewarding when you get to completion. But those that have been tricky along the way, be it with a long chain or a particularly complicated title issue to resolve, and you mange to achieve it, that really makes my day! Every day we learn something new from the challenges we have had to overcome and ways that we have had to fix issues or problems. But when clients finally move into their dream home, there is no better feeling.

Sophie Jones is a residential property conveyancer and partner at William Sturges LLP

Sophie Jones is a residential property conveyancer and partner at William Sturges LLP

Louis: In what ways do you stay updated with the latest developments and changes in property law, and how does this ongoing education benefit your clients?

Sophie: It is a requirement that as solicitors, that we must undertake continuing professional development all of the time to get our practicing certificate every year. We must demonstrate the learning that we have done in the previous year. We do it through a manner of different things. We do it through webinars, we circulate update news emails every morning, LinkedIn is also a great place for me to keep up to date with industry news and other professionals. For example, with recent leasehold reforms that have come in, it has been interesting watching big names in the field share their opinions and commentary on what is going on. As a team we also meet weekly via zoom to discuss updates and changes, so we are constantly learning and keeping up to date. As a result of that we do provide a better service to our clients.

Louis: Looking ahead, what do you envision as the future of residential property law, and how do you see William Sturges adapting to meet evolving client needs and industry trends?

Sophie: We have certainly got interesting times ahead. There’s a big drive for a more digital style of conveyancing. Be it through some kind of online portal which deals with the flow of monies and flow of information between various parties. It is just the way that the world is going. I think it will have tremendous benefit and I do think that the more digital things become, the more efficient a transaction can be. Included within that is A.I. I know that some companies are already incorporating the use of AI to help prepare things like lease reports. We have not gone down that route yet, but once we feel that A.I. is good enough, that will be something that we will explore to help us. For us as a company, we are investing quite a lot to make sure that we have the capability to be able to stay ahead and keep up with trends, so that we can compete with everyone else as the industry becomes more digitised.

Speak To A Residential Property Law Expert

And there we have it! All the essentials about residential property conveyancing, straight from Sophie Jones, an undeniable expert in the industry. Whether you are seeking your dream home in the heart of the city or exploring investment opportunities in London’s bustling property market, do not hesitate to reach out to residential conveyancing solicitors William Sturges to help with all your legal needs. And if securing the perfect mortgage in this area is your goal, look no further than Oportfolio Mortgages. Count on us to guide you through the process and secure the best terms for residential or buy-to-let properties.

Content and Communications Director Louis has been working in the mortgage industry since 2016

Content and Communications Director Louis has been working in the mortgage industry since 2016

William Sturges LLP Solicitors

Telephone: 02078731000
Email: [email protected]

Oportfolio Mortgages

Telephone: 02088771169
Email: [email protected]

LRock Media (Photographer)

Telephone: 07903765893
Email: [email protected]

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