Searching solutions

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Law firms and conveyancers looking for a quick and reliable search service are being reminded there’s an ideal solution on their doorstep.

Lockdown was tough for Stockton-based personal search provider OCALS.

With the housing market at a standstill, the need for searches ground to a halt too.

It saw the firm face its toughest conditions since opening in 2008.

But with the market now recovering – helped by the stamp duty holiday, which runs until March 31 – director Jeremy O’Connor feels things are looking up.

OCALS – it stems from O’Connor Associates Legal Services – employs six people, all experts in their field. It specialises in local authority and public utility searches, although it offers a range of more than 80 – everything from bankruptcy checks to ensuring the solicitor at the other end is bona fide.

With a background in industry and property, Jeremy knows both sides of the conveyancing coin.

And he’s keen for local firms and conveyancers to realise the search expertise OCALS can offer.

He said: “We’re an experienced team who know the area and know the businesses in it. We provide an easy, simple service to make life easy for the client.

“And if you have any questions, you get us – not a call centre. We’ll then either answer directly or we’ll consult and get back to you quickly.

“We provide a wide range of products, an easy ordering system and we’re quality assured.”

Jeremy feels that being independent means there are some areas in which OCALS can act faster.

With guaranteed turnaround times for law firms, it offers a free search “refresh” if the mortgage hasn’t gone through within three months, and free searches on the client’s new property if the sale falls through.

And while OCALS isn’t yet back to pre-Covid levels of up to 1,000 searches a month, Jeremy believes better times are ahead.

“The vaccines mean there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we’re well placed for when things are properly up and running again – both for our national clients and those closer to home.

“I do think 2021 will be a good year because people want to get out there and get living their lives again.”