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Property Natter: conveyancing, mortgage advice and a PropTech revolution

On Tuesday we managed hail, snow, rain, sun and a chilly wind all in one day. Whatever you want to say about the British weather, its unpredictability can’t be questioned!

Anyway, I’m going to brave the chill in this week’s blog and delve into the oft-neglected world of conveyancing. There does seem to be a bit of an impasse between agents and conveyancers at present, but conveyancing plays an integral part in the property industry and is a sometimes undervalued cog in the house buying and selling machine. Not perfect or without issues, but then what is?

Convey Law is one company that does conveyancing very well. Based in Newport, South Wales, they are one of the largest specialist legal conveyancing companies in the UK, acting for a range of private clients and corporate introducers. 

There can still be a bit of confusion about what exactly a conveyancer does on a day-to-day basis, even for those of us closely involved in the industry, which is what makes this day in the life of a conveyancer piece on their website all the more helpful and interesting.    

I should also mention My Home Move, the UK’s leading provider of mover conveyancing services, whose annual Housing Conference returns on 18 May 2016 with the promise of offering “A Fresh Perspective” on the UK’s property market. Always an interesting, well-attended event, and this year’s edition – held at the prestigious Belfry Hotel and Golf Resort in Warwickshire – should be no different.  

Moving away from conveyancing matters, I met with Peter Brodniki of the Mortgage Advice Bureau the other week. It might sound like a defunct government department from the 1980s or a place in which to exchange money, but it’s actually a very modern, relevant and 21st century organisation providing expert, face to face financial and mortgage advice on high streets throughout the UK.

As we know, the nuances and complexities of mortgages can be a bit of a daunting minefield, which makes the work of the Mortgage Advice Bureau all the more vital. With more than 800 advisers, access to over 90 UK lenders and more than 50 awards in the last five years alone, the expert mortgage broker arranges roughly £8 billion of mortgages per year - an impressive CV in anyone’s book!

I also met with Yomdel, an innovative 24/7 live chat services firm which allows businesses to chat online with visitors in real time. Most of us will have already seen this sort of thing popping up on other websites, both inside the property sphere and outside of it. It looks set to be the way forward as the desire for instant interaction and communication continues to grow.   

Elsewhere, it’s been a rather special week for our ValPal team – we have now reached a total of 303 agents and 1535 offices! These include Martyn Gerrard, Balgores, Besley Hill, Farrell Heyworth, Tepilo, Leaders and Northwood. A real team effort, from everyone at Angels Media. And goes to show that a little bit of innovation and the recognition of a gap in the market can go a long way. 

I’m now also going to turn recruitment consultant for a minute. Our sales team is expanding and we are looking to fill the following positions: a new advertising salesperson and a new ValPal salesperson (preferably with knowledge of estate agencies). Please get in touch if you’re interested.

Now to the proptech revolution part of the title, something we feel ValPal and even the TODAY sites are very much a part of. Property technology is taking off in a big way and two Central London-based events in the next few months are only likely to grow its influence. First up, on 19 May 2016, is the Future: Property Tech conference. Described as “the largest and most important gathering of real estate and property technology (PropTech) professionals in Europe”, a number of industry big guns will be in attendance (Miles Shipside, Russell Quirk, Alex Bailes, et al).

Then, on the 2 June 2016, is Propteq Europe, a property technology and innovation summit for the world’s leading proptech innovators. It is, above all else, about networking. There are no speakers; instead the plan is for those attending to connect and talk business. There will be group debates, product demos and funding pitches to get people to “connect, understand, learn, find, source and grow”. Two very different approaches, but both events will be putting proptech at the very forefront. 

And, finally, I can’t let this Natter go by without mentioning the ESTAS. As usual, a brilliant time was had by all, the great and the good of the industry were honoured for their sterling work, the Grosvenor Hotel was every bit as plush as imagined and yours truly was on award-presenting duty again.

We've also got two brilliant features on the ESTAS – you can hear from the winners of the People Awards here and find out more about the agencies that struck gold here.

That’s all from me this week. Until next time… 

*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today

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