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Agency boss: Higher conveyancing fees can speed-up sales

Increased conveyancing fees would speed-up transaction times, it has been claimed.

Iain McKenzie, chief executive of The Guild of Property Professionals suggests that estate agents should encourage conveyancers who are currently charging low fees to increase their rates, reduce their workloads and get transactions through faster.

With the conveyancing period taking longer and the market beginning to quieten, McKenzie said it is vital that both transaction times and fall through numbers are reduced.


McKenzie added: “Not only have the requirements that conveyancers have to adhere to increased but also those that estate agents have to comply with. Better understanding and collaboration between the two groups is essential going forward.”

The comments, perhaps unsurprisingly, have been backed by Rob Hailstone, chief executive of conveyancing network The Bold Legal Group.

He said: “Unless something drastic is done soon, transaction times will get longer and longer. 

“Conveyancing is not the job it used to be 15 or 20 years ago. 

“It is far more involved, complex, stressful, and burdensome. Many conveyancers are not able to process transactions as they would like to for their clients.”

Hailstone said there are several reasons for this, but the main one is that conveyancing used to involve about 12 main steps, it now involves 30 or more. 

He added: “Logic says that if your workload per transaction increases, the number of transactions you can run at any one time must reduce, even if technology is helping in some areas.

“Add to the fact that there are Land Registry delays, Stamp Duty advice that should only be within the remit of experts, plus client and estate agent requests for updates have increased and it becomes clear that the conveyancer’s role is, at times, almost untenable.”

  • Peter Ambrose

    We're starting to see green shoots of this thinking among agents.
    One of the leading agencies have already made the decision to refer on merit rather than promises.
    We're confident that others will follow suit

  • Michael Day

    The issue of referral fees is clearly important but, IMO, if the relationship and understanding between the agent and conveyancer is a good one it is a bit of a “red herring”

    Agents should be doing more than just passing a telephone number across and asking a conveyancer to quote – they should be adding value by selling the conveyancing service to the consumer (ideally on a known and agreed fee scale) and completing some of the collection of information required. During the transaction they should again be adding value through proactive involvement and engagement with all parties to progress the transaction.

    Conveyancers for their part should be prepared to open a file and not wait until a completed chain exists – there is much work they could be doing to get ahead of the curve in a sale/purchase.

    If the relationship and operation runs akin to outlined above, then a referral fee is actually good value for the conveyancer as they will not have to spend time, money and other resources on finding clients and selling their services. Sales progression can be speeded up by agreed contact with agents rather than a piecemeal approach.

    No sensible agent should refer business to a conveyancer who doesn't meet acceptable standards as the value of a sales commission clearly outweighs any referral fee achieved. As the catalyst for the transaction, agents are in a strong position but need to balance performance and service with headline referral fees.

    I’m all for agents and conveyancers charging higher fees – if they can both demonstrate the “value add” (faster transactions, less aborts etc) then they will easily be able to achieve.

    Might even see conveyancers aligning their fees with agents – no move, no fee – fixed fees etc?


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