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Online agent deposit/conveyancer scheme claims 100% completion rate

Online agency Settled is introducing a deposit scheme which it claims will assist sellers and buyers reach completion faster - and requires them to instruct the firm’s conveyancing partner “helping to speed up the legal stage of the sale by up to 50 per cent.”

The agency has this year claimed that it is cutting the time it takes to sell a home in half and reducing fall-throughs from 33 per cent to just seven per cent, as well as achieving 98 per cent of the asking price.

Settled charges £499 - up-front or deferred for a month - and has now launched what it calls ‘Strengthen & Secure.

This is an optional scheme for both buyers and sellers which protects the agreement of an offer and speeds up the legal stage. 

On its website the agency says: “Strengthen & Secure can be opted into at the point an offer is made by a buyer and received by a seller. 

“By opting in, both can agree to: Secure the agreed offer with a refundable £500 deposit, which protects both parties from the effects of gazumping, gazundering and gazanging; Instruct Settled’s conveyancing partner, helping to speed up the legal stage of the sale by up to 50%

“Either party can opt into the scheme on an individual basis, but the benefits truly come into effect when the pair enter together, selecting both options.”

It goes on to claim that by opting into the scheme, sellers “show buyers they’re serious about seeing their sale through” and “buyers similarly demonstrate to sellers that their offer is solid.”

It claims that sellers are more likely to accept an offer that has a higher strength rating, and likewise, buyers are more likely to trust the acceptance of their offer.

“The commitment feels great, and it helps to progress the sale much quicker than would otherwise be the case. In fact, we’ve seen so far that when both a buyer and seller opt into Strengthen & Secure, completion rates rise to 100%.”

In a statement announcing the launch of the scheme, the agency also said it “protects both parties from the effects of gazumping, gazundering and gazanging” - the latter being when a vendor pulls out of a sale having previously accepted an offer.

  • Rob Hailstone

    What does the 'conveyancing partner' do, and when, to help speed up the legal stage of the sale by up to 50 per cent?

  • Simon Shinerock

    Getting commitment up front helps a lot, I’ve been saying this forever, however, like Rob,I’m not sure how the conveyancing bit comes in beyond being a partner of settled

  • Peter Ambrose

    At a guess, and with no evidence, no doubt the "partner" helps to fund the transaction. ..

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    This is hilarious. It’s hailing taking a £500 reservation deposit as the cure to fall throughs... News flash! Most agents worth their salt take deposits from prospective buyers upon a sale
    being agreed. Still not sure how this speeds up the conveyancing process. Me thinks Settled is desperate for some PR.

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    Lock in/Lock out agreements have been around for a while since the courts decided that they were contracts ancillary to the main contract and not separate contracts in their own right which would foul of the Law of Property Act. Solicitors use them where both parties agree to pay a preliminary deposit into (usually) a solicitor's client account as stakeholders. Many other countries which practice English Law (about a sixth of the world's population) have amended their LPAs to make similar methods mandatory which has reduced the time between sale agreed and exchange of contracts and the number of fall throughs dramatically and there's no reason why we cannot do this in England & Wales. Well done for Settled to highlight their benefits (even if they are making out it is their idea!).

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    Yet another ''press release'' publicised

    £500 wont stop anything - and how that speeds anything up is a mystery

    The UK should for sure have a proper deposit process of 1% to ensure everyone stays committed. How that works legally is not my area of expertise.

  • Mike Lewis

    I recall that a similar scheme was introduced in the UK some 30 odd years ago (I am very old!!!). It didn't work because the great British house selling/buying public didn't like the idea of forking out £1,000 and potentially losing the opportunity of selling at a higher price if another purchaser came up, or walking away from buying the property if they changed their mind for whatever reason.

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    How does a £500 deposit help them negotiate a massive down valuation or an HB survey that throws up way more than the buyer is willing to do? I'm all for buyer/seller commitment and think it is a great idea but they are getting 100% completion?
    100% of what? 1, 10, 500 sales?

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