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In September I wrote about the illusion of communication' between conveyancers and estate agents and the effect this is having on transaction times and ultimately customer service.

I set out the challenge that something needed to happen to bring together all the good work that different individuals and organisations are doing, to try and improve the communication between us.

Well I'm pleased to report that last week, together with Mark Hayward from the NAEA, the Conveyancing Association took the first step in doing just that.

Last Thursday we launched the Conveyancer/Estate Agent Best Practice Guide, which we believe is the first of its kind for the property sector. Essentially it is designed to offer further guidance in helping to speed up transactions and improve services for home buyers and sellers by managing communication throughout the chain.

The short booklet sets out a range of recommended practices for conveyancers to support communication with estate agents, which we hope will give clients greater confidence about the process.

Its recommendations include things like agreed timings for regular phone calls and updates, giving estate agents access to online case tracking and monthly predicted exchanges dates. Simple I know, but essential and hopefully practical stuff that means we can play our part in ensuring a transaction moves as speedily as possible.

Now, as I set out three months ago, many conveyancers are already doing these things and have great relationships with their estate agents. What the Guide is seeking to do is share and develop these practices for the benefit of our whole membership and their estate agent contacts.

Certainly we don't envisage this being mandatory; instead it is hoped that conveyancers will increasingly take it on board - something they can keep on their desks, refer to and share with colleagues.

It highlights what we at the Conveyancing Association believe is a sensible and measured approach in helping to improve communications for the benefit of all concerned.

And as I've said it's only a first step in turning the illusion of communication into a reality. We plan to continue to consult with the estate agency sector - and we're very grateful for the support we've already had from the NAEA - to identify further opportunities for improvement over the coming months.

Of course there is more to do, but we've taken a very important first step in achieving the joined up relationship our clients what to see.

A copy of the Conveyancer/Estate Agent Best Practice Guide can be accessed here.

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


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