Dental Times - Dental experts take the stress out of buying a practice
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16 December 2018

Dental experts take the stress out of buying a practice

I made the decision to buy Oakwood Dental Practice when I saw it advertised on Mediestates’ website at the beginning of 2017. I registered my details and arranged to visit the practice. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the right one.
I made my offer via Mediestates, which was accepted by the vendor. I also decided to enlist Medifinancial’s help with obtaining finance. Once some research had been done on my behalf, I was given a range of options and I decided to go with a bank that was offering a competitive deal.
I instructed a firm of solicitors that I had used before and the purchase process was in full swing. Or so I thought…

Timing it right

I think I was unlucky in the timing of my practice purchase, and this is something I would warn any potential purchaser to think about. My solicitors were a large firm and I chose them because they had a lot of dental conveyancing experience and because they had helped me successfully in the past.
However, my instruction to them was made in March, which is one of their busiest periods when they are pushing through NHS practice sales before the 1 April contract renewal date. My case was put at the bottom of the priority list and so progress was slow.
Towards the end of the process, I also fell foul of the August holidays, especially in terms of getting access to my mortgage funding. My bank did later apologise for the delay and extra expense they had caused by leaving my case with a junior member of staff who lacked training and the authority to sign anything off.

Surrounding yourself with experts in dental

Unfortunately, the bank I’d chosen did not have much experience of financing dental practice purchases, so their lack of knowledge, and the disappearance of the senior person on my case at the crucial moment, resulted in an extremely stressful delay, for which I felt responsible – as it was my bank holding up the entire process.
During this time I don’t know what I would have done without Kimberley at Medifinancial, who went above and beyond the call of duty in pushing things through for me.
She was relentless in her pursuit of all parties, including my solicitors and the bank, with daily phone calls and emails to keep the pressure up.
Hannah, my contact at Mediestates, constantly mediated between me and the vendor, keeping all the balls in the air. She made sure that I was on track with all the paperwork and requirements that I needed to fulfil as the buyer and insisted I apply for my DBS check straight away, helping me negotiate the CQC application process, which was very valuable for me.
She was so organised and efficient. In fact, dealing with the CQC, which is often the most stressful part of a practice purchase, was the easiest!
With the experience she and Mediestates have in this area, she was able to warn me of all the pitfalls and steer me through the whole process.
Once my solicitors were able to give me their attention, they performed their part well. Again, their experience in the dental sector meant they knew all the right questions to ask, advised me on the paperwork I needed to provide, and secured a good deal for me.

My advice to others?

Looking back, I’m so pleased I took the plunge as I love owning my own practice. My advice for anyone thinking about buying a practice is to be prepared.
It can be stressful and is also a time-consuming process and something that you will be trying to complete around your current day job.
Try to be as prepared as possible not only for all the hoops you’ll need to jump through, but also for the sudden demand from all your patients to see you before you leave your current practice! That was something I wasn’t ready for.
My advice is go for it! But make sure you surround yourself with professionals who are experienced in the dental sector – and that includes the bank you choose. Their knowledge will give you real confidence through the process.
And finally, if there is some flexibility in timings, try to avoid completing your purchase in August!
Posted by: Grethe Louw (testimonial) on 21 Jun 2018