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Allow agents to do more conveyancing during sales - call

A PropTech supplier says the conveyancing process is “antiquated” and buyers and sellers would be better served if they were ’shadowed’ by the estate agent from the start of the process to the end.

Bryan Mansell, co-founder of PropTech platform Gazeal, says whereas tenants find properties in the same way as buyers with a similar viewing, offer and negotiation process, that's where the similarities end.

"During the homebuying process, once the offer has been accepted, buyers and sellers go off independently which is where many of the problems start … If more of the conveyancing work could be carried out by agents, with them able to guide consumers through the process, transactions could become smoother and more efficient" he says.

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"In the lettings sector, there is an onus on agents to provide documentation and information to both sides of the transaction. This moves the process along and ensures everyone knows where they stand. There is plenty more to be done to improve the conveyancing process, but mirroring some of the most effective parts of the lettings system could be a good start" Mansell adds.

He says the protocols, language and traditions surrounding house moving - where activities are split between professionals - means the process is difficult to understand to buyers and sellers who only transact a few occasions in their lifetimes. 

"With people moving home less frequently, their knowledge of the conveyancing process is understandably patchy. The language and complexity of documents used by agents and conveyancers is counter-productive as it scares consumers and adds to their confusion.

"The other issue revolves around the price of conveyancing services. If consumers were better educated not to choose their representation solely on cost, this could prevent fall-throughs and reduce the chances of buyers and sellers running into problems before they’ve even started" explains Mansell.

The issue of how conveyancing and the buying process work has been thrown into the spotlight by the stamp duty holiday, which comes to an end on March 31. 

Gazeal - which wants to change the process to involve more technology and introduce concepts such as non-refundable deposits - says the current conveyancing system is likely to be stretched severely as the March 31 deadline nears.

Analysis from Zoopla suggests the stamp duty holiday will be responsible for an additional 100,000 transactions in the pipeline in the first few months of 2021.

Rightmove recently reported 613,000 sold subject to contract properties still awaiting legal completion, and that it now took 126 days from the time an offer is accepted until legal completion, with around 100,000 buyers set to miss on stamp duty savings because of delays.

"The conveyancing system has been struggling to cope with demand during an unprecedented period. However, even before the pandemic, there were still significant issues with fall-throughs, delays and confusion" adds Mansell.

"Post-April, there is still likely to be a huge backlog of transactions in the pipeline and a high level of activity could be sustained thanks to an economic boost associated with a successful vaccine rollout.”

Poll: Should agents be permitted do more of the conveyancing process?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW


  • John Evans

    Hear hear!

  • Rob Hailstone

    Just read this and wondered if I had been asleep for two months or so and 31st March was yesterday.

    All that needs to be done by the agent is to:

    1. Recommend a conveyancer who does not gain work solely on low cost, or by paying a high referral fee.

    2. Get the seller to instruct the conveyancer before a buyer has been found.

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    Did you cut and paste this from PIE 😂😂

     
  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    We have been championing better collaboration for months. There is much an agent can do, but keep it simple!!
    Helping a client get legally prepared by sorting out their ID/AML, providing access to protocol forms, offering some advice regarding the documentation they should find and make available, ordering searches and engaging with an appropriate conveyancer is one thing, but doing the conveyancing too is quite something else.
    How many agents would actually want to do more?
    We find it challenging to get agents to make small changes to help the conveyancers, they are not going to want to do the whole job too.
    Better collaboration, education and understanding is what is required.
    Taking the step to get buyers and sellers to show commitment and get involved is what is needed.

    I can see the biggest problem with this being the lack of impartiality and independent advice. Agents will want to get deals through and indemnify everything and, if nothing else, their PII costs would end up being prohibitively expensive and the claims bills crippling.

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    They don't say for Agents to do the whole job? that clearly isn't feasible

     
  • Mark Walmsley

    The points referencing language and complexity are true. In most professionals a purposeful barrier of semantic entry is established to justify the “professional” position at the expense of the layman. Law, accountancy, investment, estate agency, we are all guilty of this. At its most simple, that’s why I try hard to not use vendor, applicant or even dual/sole agency unless I’m caught on the hop.

    Gazebo, Breezemove and others are all pioneering portals to try and break a similar barrier of entry and modernise and streamline the archaism.

    Estate agents like us need to embrace this new breed because simplicity and transparency are trumping protectionism in many industries now and ours will surely follow.

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    Well said Mark 👏🏻👏🏻

     
  • Samantha Sullivan

    Really? The last article was all about of 25% of agents are qualified and you trust them with conveyanving matters?
    Only those who are qualified or branch managers (the ones qualified) should be considered surely.

    Matthew Fine

    If you think having NAEA or ARLA after your name makes you qualified then there is absolutly no hope left. Most agents think a party wall is somewhere to have a disco!! There is no way agents in the UK could convey property transactions without a major change in the industry and fee's mirroring the USA model.

     
  • Matthew Gardiner Legge

    More often that not, at some stage in the sales process I will be contacted by the solicitor/conveyancer/assistant for a copy of the EPC despite it having been attached to the initial sales letter/email, depsite EPCs being publicly available online. Until even these basics can be mastered by the conveyancing profession I think we may be a way off from proptech being the solution.

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