A day in the life of a Real Estate trainee

We asked trainee solicitor Emma Hough to share her experiences of her first seat in real estate in our Oxford office.

“The real estate team at Royds Withy King works across sectors including retail and leisure and health and social care with clients ranging from individuals to businesses and banks. This has meant that my exposure to work has been diverse, interesting and has provided the perfect environment for me to develop my skill set. Real Estate was my first seat at the firm. This ‘day in the life of’ was a particularly busy day, with completion arranged on three separate matters, documents to review and a negotiation call to make.

The final push for completion

As we were acting for our client on the sale of their industrial estate, my first task of the morning was to liaise with the buyer’s solicitor regarding the transfer of completion funds to us. The sale value was £800,000 so by no means a small amount! Once received I phoned the buyer’s solicitor again and we agreed the completion details, inserting dates on our respective sale contracts and transfer documents. After this I prepared a letter enclosing the original contract and transfer document and contacted our client to update him and arrange for the sale proceeds to be transferred to him. As we were dealing with multiple industrial units on the estate, I had to prepare authority letters for each tenant to ensure that any future rent was paid directly to the new landlord and not our client. I had worked on this particular matter from the beginning so it was very rewarding to be able to see a transaction through to the end and deal with the completion elements as a trainee.

My second and third completion of the day

We were acting for a client who was a tenant at a commercial trading shop but had decided to surrender his lease to occupy an alternative property. The relevant surrender document had already been prepared so on this one it was a straightforward case of contacting the other side and dating the surrender document. The final completion was on a matter where our client was taking a lease of a property. Communicating with various parties on these types of transactions has been a great way for me to build upon my communication skills.

After taking a break for lunch with some colleagues, I had other tasks from my supervisors to complete over the course of the afternoon.

The review begins

I was asked to review documents we had received on a new matter where we were acting for a bank in relation to a mortgage over a property. We received documents including: office copies (the property title documents), deeds, conveyances, correspondence and search reports. Banks require a ‘certificate of title’ to be sent to them which confirms we are satisfied there is nothing in the property documents which would adversely impact their legal charge over the property. To help me complete this task, I used a standardised ‘property security requirements’ document.

One final phone call

As I  progressed through my first seat, I was entrusted to take the lead on some transactions, under the guidance of my supervisors of course! Having this level of responsibility as a trainee is invaluable in preparing me for dealing with my own clients once I am qualified. On one particular matter, I was engaged in some protracted emails with the other side regarding the value of my client’s business. After discussing the commercial implications and the options for my client with my supervisor, I took further instructions from my client. I then called the other side to discuss our proposition and negotiated the final agreement for the sale of the business, following up with a written record of our discussion. Negotiating the best deal for my client was very satisfying and a great way to end the working day!

Logging off

After a few final emails on other matters, I logged off my computer at 17.45. As it was a Friday, I went to one of the local pubs with a group of colleagues from work.

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