With the speed of property sales continuing to slow and no end to the sluggishness in sight, it’s time to take a look at the causes and a few straightforward solutions.
Firstly, what’s behind the drop in pace?
One of the key reasons for the slowdown over the last 18 months is a reduction in single property sales. In fact, View My Chain’s data shows that 50% of all sales are now involved in a chain – up from 40% last year.
As all agents know, managing a chain and all its moving parts is a complex and time-consuming task, so the minute a buyer is selling up too, timelines start to stretch.
Another factor is a lack of investment in both people and technology when it comes to sales progression. As well as opting for more streamlined teams with less time to devote to sales progression, many agents are missing out on smart solutions that would quickly and easily simplify chain management.
Our data shows that branches adopting new, hassle-free technologies and shifting agents’ behaviours are not only achieving faster completions, but also managing risky transactions more effectively. So faster sales and more of them – win-win.
The real power lies in mixing technology with traditional customer service skills. Hit the right combination of the two and you’ll never look back.
Which leads us neatly onto those solutions…
1. See the big picture
Agents need to take a holistic view of the chain and not just their own sale. In the scramble to be exchange-ready, red flags along the rest of the chain are often missed.
By taking a step back and keeping tabs on the whole lot, you’ll be able to spot and fix stumbling blocks along the way, ensuring every property is on track for the all-important exchange date.
Luckily, it’s much simpler than it sounds, thanks to new technologies offering greater transparency than ever before.
2. Let the experts do their job
If you’ve referred a customer to a conveyancer, trust them to deal with their side of the process.
Calling and emailing for daily updates will not only waste time but potentially put noses out of joint, too. Instead, you could opt for an online solution, where you can keep track of their progress without interfering. You can then share this information with your customer and, if things start to slow down, step in and see what’s happening.
3. Keep an eye on the listings
By monitoring the other listings in the chain you’ll be able to quickly spot if there’s an unexpected change of status.
Your property is only a small part of the story, so make sure you’re staying on top of the others too and getting accurate, up-to-date information.
4. Spot potential issues early
Identify the dependencies in the chain as early as possible – those details that could derail everything are often easily fixed. Consider things like management information packs, local authority turnaround times and mortgage applications upfront, then focus your efforts on the tricky bits to smooth the process from the start.
5. Empower the consumer
The most motivated people in any move are of course the buyers and sellers, but they’re also likely to know the least about the process. Give them clear guidance from the word go on what needs doing, when.
Make it clear too if there are any areas of concern or things that might delay the transaction.
Gathering and sharing information not only speeds things along, it also builds trust between the customer and agent, which always makes life easier.
6. Keep everyone informed
If I had to choose just one piece of advice, it would be for agents to keep both buyer and seller in the loop every step of the way.
In an age where we can find out almost anything in an instant, 24 hours a day, why should they accept anything less?
As well as keeping things running swiftly and smoothly, you’ll have satisfied customers who might just be back again one day.
The technology’s out there, so embrace it and you’ll soon see results: faster sales, better-informed agents and – the ultimate accolade – happier customers.
*Sohail Rashid is CEO of View My Chain