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I thought I would use my first article of a regular series to discuss something that affects the work of both estate agents and conveyancers alike: the problem of increasing delays on transactions and how we can potentially sort this out.

As an industry we're aware of one of the major causes of these delays - namely poor communication. Indeed, a recent poll commissioned by the Conveyancing Association (CA) and carried out by OnePoll, found that 47% of buyers felt the parties involved in their sale or purchase (including the solicitor or conveyancer, the lender and the estate agent) could have communicated with each other better.

The coup de gras comes in the second stat which found that 46% said they thought that better communication would have significantly speeded up the home buying or selling process.

So there we have it - our customers are telling us that poor communication equals delays which ultimately lead to dissatisfaction with the process of buying or selling a property.

In thinking about this problem I'm reminded by what George Bernard Shaw once said: The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." This is an issue I am sure we can all recognise within our industry, perhaps even within our own organisations - the question is, how can we work together to help solve this and, critically, achieve that shift from the illusion' of good communication to make it a reality

Customer service is central to everything we do - it is therefore in everyone's interest to make this as good as possible. Now, while better communication is of course ultimately going to come down to particular relationships between solicitors and estate agents, aren't there steps we can collectively take to reassure our customers that we are working hard to better interact in their interests

Last year the CA made moves to demonstrate to our customers that, whatever the weather, they come first, through our Consumer Pledges'. The Pledges, which all our members have now signed up to, are the conveyancing industry's first ever set of customer service commitments which go above and beyond existing regulations and accreditation schemes. They ensure that all our members provide their customers with the transparent, efficient and professional service that home-buyers expect when making one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Good communication is a key part of this. It's a first step, but an important one in turning this problem around.

With estate agents also following similar codes and practices, the time is right to start thinking about what processes we should have in place in order to improve our interaction with each other, too.

Anyone who has purchased or sold a house knows what a stressful time this can be. If we can work together to get the whole industry singing from the same hymn sheet - facilitating communication and cutting down the time currently being lost during this process - we'll not only make life easier for ourselves but also massively improve our customers' experience and, as we all know, that's the bottom line!

*Eddie Goldsmith is Chairman of the Conveyancing Association and Senior Partner at Goldsmith Williams


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    The two big causes of abortive house selling deals we get told by many estate agents are (1) dates were never agreed at the start, only excitement over the deal in place and price, but dates overlooked. Parties then drift and never knew each other's timeframe. Cold feet results. (2) slow conveyancing. Not poor communication, but slow conveyancing. But there are Estate Agent who prefers 100-200 cash back for placing a lead with an inferior conveyancer instead of selecting one they know will constantly breeze through to prompt 'solution finding for any defects' exchanges. A real shame.

    • 19 September 2014 20:47 PM
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    OI!! Mr Shinerock - here's one of them Trolls you want to make into a video game! How's about you try to zap the little blighter... no-one's ever managed yet to dent his enthusiasm for cluttering up your site - let's see if you're up to the challenge!

    • 27 August 2014 19:55 PM
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    Link error on previous post. That link (btw) needs to be:
    AND / OR

    • 25 August 2014 10:17 AM
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    I absolutely agree with what you have written, especially as it is based on what GBS said about communication and because this is still so true today.

    The answer to implementing such a vast increase in better communication is to change the way agents commission their instructions.

    For a complete insight into what this means and how it could be achieved please visit:

    • 23 August 2014 10:44 AM
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