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Six quick fixes for speeding up the sales process

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

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    The main reason completions have slowed in recent years are the increase in online agency sales who let traditional agents do sales progression for them. How can they provide the resource to undertake progression effectively when they charge for achieving a sale not a completion!! It would be interesting to see how there figures compared to a traditional agent between acceptance of an offer through to completion. Why should they care they have the cash

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    From a conveyancing point of view, all the estate agent hard work can be for nothing, if the conveyancer drops the baton. Don’t refer to mediocre conveyancers. Too frequently estate agents curse that they are told to refer buyers and sellers to a volume outfit their HQ tell them to. Instead, pick dynamic, expert and prompt lawyers. The deal will motor through, as they will often chase slow lawyers along the chain too - we do - and as important, legal mistakes giving your estate agency negative backlash for recommending them will be a thing of the past. How to find a great conveyancer? Some good selection criteria: 1. Are they even a firm of actual solicitors? 2. Do each conveyancer in the team have a law degree or at least 10 years conveyancing expereinece? 3. Does their website identify their conveyancing lawyers by photos and direct contact details? 4. Do they guarantee their quote will not be higher, or if not, do they clearly state what would be the extra charges? 5. Do they push profit rather than service i.e do they charge more for (1) unregistered land (2) forced electronic ID checks (3) forced 'other solicitor’ ID checks (4) photocopying etc 6. Do they close at lunch and dead on 5pm?


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    I think Estate Agents have made a rod for their own back by entering into referral Agreements with the very organisations who cause the delays in the first place - the factories. Take those roadblocks out of the Conveyancing process and you can probably immediately remove four weeks from the time a transaction takes start to finish. But Agents really should not complain about delays, and tar every conveyancer with the same brush, when to a great extent the monsters they have created have taken such market share and become the beasts that cannot be tamed. How many times do Agents complain about delays but continue to pass work to these organisations because their palms are being crossed with silver? Sounds to me like there is an easy answer, but if it means a drop in income people are not prepared to act?
    And don't get me started on Mr Higham's post. It would be great if his six points were such a panacea, but I have 37 years experience in conveyancing and can assure anybody reading that the solution is not so simple, not even close!

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