Having urged agents to think about the full marketing mix and not just price, we must look at our business relationships in the same vein.
Contrary to popular belief, estate agents don’t actually sell properties. A good estate agent will negotiate and secure the offer but the ‘sale’, in the legal sense, happens at the end of the conveyancing process.
Since most transactions also involve a mortgage, financial services are also an inescapable part of the buying and selling process.
And therein lies the dilemma for the agent; if you fail to provide conveyancing and financial services then you are not truly fulfilling the needs of your clients as they instructed you to ‘sell’ their home and not simply get an offer.
However, if you do offer conveyancing and financial services then who do you partner with and how can you ensure they will continue to uphold the hard-earned reputation of your agency?
Just as a sympathetic extension can add value to a property, so too can an extension of your services add value to your business; but it can just as easily be detrimental too, so choose your partners wisely.
Generally speaking financial services have integrated far better into agencies than conveyancing. I believe this has a lot to do with mortgage brokers being able to share the same office and therefore adopt the same culture.
I also suspect this is in part to do with the brokers' willingness to become part of the team and, dare I say, a deeper appreciation of the relationship.
Notwithstanding the regulatory requirements that we must remain sensitive to, there is no reason why conveyancers can’t develop more intimate and effective working relationships with agents and embrace the opportunity to work as a team.
Bearing in mind our absolute reliance on the conveyancing process in order for a transaction to complete, it never ceases to amaze me the abandon that lots of agents still have in choosing a conveyancing provider to bolt on (I almost wrote ‘strap on’ there but that may have been a little too inflammatory) to their treasured business.
Worryingly many agents have made a decision to enter into a partnership with a conveyancing provider having only met the sales person tasked with selling the service.
Moving home will always remain a human process and so you should at least meet the people that are going to be delivering the service and having a relationship with your clients for up to three months at a time.
The infrequency of people moving home, means that you only have one chance to ‘wow’ your clients roughly every seven years.
You may well have achieved full asking price within two weeks but if the client was fraught with stress throughout the conveyancing process because they instructed an overworked and/or under-qualified conveyancer then, regardless of whether you referred that conveyancer or not, they will struggle to reflect on that time with positive thoughts.
You see, as good as your part is, seven years is a long time and so unless you take control of the whole process and ensure that the client is ‘wowed’ throughout, then you are leaving your client’s experience completely to chance.
Helping somebody to buy or sell a property requires a team effort. Good team selection is therefore key.
*Carl Brignell is a Director at Elite Panel Management, providing quality-focused conveyancing solutions