In a housing market still shackled by lack of supply, DM Hall’s Legal Search and Property Services Department has gone from strength to strength, upping its turnover by 13% in 2021 and projecting further substantial increases this year.
Under the leadership of property professional Amanda Cameron and operating from the Dunfermline office, the department has become a vital fee contributor to DM Hall, which is one of Scotland’s foremost firms of Chartered Surveyors.
And it has recently been further strengthened by the appointment of another key professional – a direct lateral hire from the opposition – to take the department’s offering more aggressively into the West of Scotland, where it has identified attractive growth opportunities.
In an industry worth £16 million in Scotland, the 14-strong department is focusing sharply on market share.
Amanda Cameron, who is a Partner in the Dunfermline office of DM Hall, said: “We are the only department of its kind in the country which is operated by a wholly Scottish company. All our competitors are owned either by English or US multi-business concerns.
“Our low yield, high volume service, often purchased as a competitively priced multi-search bundle for a conveyancing transaction – the business’s key product – makes the growth we have experienced recently even more remarkable.
“Our expansion into the West will be driven by our new Business Development Consultant, who will work closely with our surveyors to make us an attractive first port of call, and it will build on the successes achieved by our expert consultant Ronnie Coleman in the East.”
The firm’s search and property services operation helps its clients at every stage of a property transaction to identify any legal, building control, planning or environmental issues which might have a bearing on securing legal title.
As well as Property Enquiry Certificates, it provides legal and conveyancing reports, environmental and mining reports and land registration services, while also dealing with building warrants, boundary disputes and unauthorised alterations.
Cameron added: “The last two years have obviously winnowed out a lot of the smaller firms, and larger firms have been assiduously sweeping up the business of these casualties.
“Our strategic determination now is where to position ourselves – with the smaller companies with whom we have traditionally partnered and offered a personalised service, or to embrace volume business with the bigger players, which comes with the risk of arbitrary withdrawal of that business.
“We expect that the diversity of services we offer, attractive pricing and the fact that we are known to strive to make our customers’ lives easier will all weigh in our favour as we continue to maintain and expand our growth ambitions.”
The Property Services Division has invested heavily in technology and its own internal processes to allow it to transition from a paper-based model to an electronic product which fits compatibly with clients’ own systems.
It plans to continue to make inroads into areas of Scotland in which it has no existing market share, particularly the Northwest and the Islands.