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By Lisa Summerton

Business Development Director, Fitzalan Partners


Should agents associate themselves with the conveyancing process?

Picture this: You have finally pushed that sale or purchase through, which means your client is over the moon and happy with your services.

Do you leave it there?

Or do you take a step further and involve yourself with the conveyancing process?


Taking a gamble

In a survey of home owners in the UK which compared the attitudes, perceptions and expectations towards the conveyancing process, 55% of respondents expressed unhappiness.

Do you potentially jeopardise all the good will you have built up by intervening? Even if there are positive aspects not just for you personally, but your business too.

What do you risk?

During the transaction process you are in full control and can ensure the high standards of your brand are upheld with no kickback. However, as soon as you pass this on to a conveyancer or law firm, your control is gone and you are reliant on their standards of practice.

Some 44% of home buyers in the above survey expressed dissatisfaction with the levels of communication during the conveyancing process - do you want this to reflect on your brand?

Why should I take the risk?

By expanding your product services to conveyancing, you will provide a more extended turnkey service - an area customers are increasingly looking for.

Getting your client’s conveyancing process right provides extended time with them, building stronger and long-lasting relationships.

You can offer a complete service to buyers from the first point of contact - including but not limited to: independent financial advice, conveyancing services or a structural survey.

Taking back control

As an estate agent you can stay on top of all aspects of the transaction, eliminating any and all hitches or delays which often result in the deal falling through.

Research has shown that the number one reason your hard work is delayed or lost is the solicitor not being instructed early enough in the process.

Having to watch your client walk away to a local family firm to use their conveyancer who could be part-time is not ideal for anyone. There is no need for this to happen.

Several good quality conveyancing platforms such as The Conveyancing Exchange are available. This is a free software system that provides instant competitive quotes as your customer asks for them sitting in your office.

Extra revenue at a click

As long as you are transparent about referral fees, you can earn around £300 per conveyancing instruction. The provider is guaranteed to pay your fee 14 days after instruction - not on completion, meaning your additional cash flow is with you at the click of a button.

But it does not stop here, instructing surveys and property searches can also bring in more revenue.  So, over the period of a month, just ten instructions can bring in well over £3,000.

Which conveyancer?

OK, so it sounds tempting, but with 55% of house movers unhappy with their conveyancer how do you choose the right one to go with?

Using a local law firm puts you in a lottery as to whether they have the time and capacity to deal with your cases. A law firm panel is a good option to use, as carefully vetted solicitors are allocated cases which they can handle with their current capacity but as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

Law firm panels, such as TCE Select which is used by the Conveyancing Exchange, often deal in bulk and can negotiate much lower prices with additional levels of service.

TCE Select help manage the timescales and case turn around on your behalf and work with their panel firms, all of whom have agreed to meet the high SLA's that are in place.

Having this extra support is a real advantage to you as solicitor firms often don't have the budget for this. Moreover, many solicitors are reactive and will not pick up a case file unless a response is given, and it is a requirement.

Files that move quicker and have reduced turn around times are born from proactive communication. Your client’s final price is not impacted as fees are often taken from the negotiated lower costs from the law firm.

However, if you are happy with your local solicitor their firms can be invited to join an instant quote platform. In doing so you can still quote, start the process off early and benefit from referral fees.

Decision time

As an estate agent getting involved with the conveyancing process it will always present pros and cons but the right choice for you now can make a real difference to you and your business.

*Lisa Summerton is Business Development Director at Fitzalan Partners

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    As a conveyancer I witness inferior conveyancing from other law firms that we face day in day out. It is quite depressing. Any employee within a law firm can be promoted to be a conveyancer without check.

    But the advice in this article as to 'which conveyancer?' - sorry, that makes me so cross, and I would never advise my family and friends - let alone clients - to follow it!

    Instead, do your own research and always secure a seriously impressive conveyancer for yourself. And if you can recommend an excellent conveyancer to the public, then align your business with them. Quality attracts quality. These conveyancers do exist, they are hard to find, but they do exist. And when they are involved, not only do deals fly through, but along the way they will have spotted every legal defect where others would (and do) miss, having also offered up the solution in the same breath, not just inane enquiries for the sake of enquiries, grinding things to a halt.

    We are now the world of online review sites, and impressing a client/the public is crucial PR.

  • jeremy clarke

    For the past 15 years I've run a letting agency, prior to that I spent the same number of years working in and managing estate agency. We now only get involved in sales when a landlord decides to sell up (getting more frequent lately, I have to say!)
    Looking at what happens now in comparison with 15 years ago, little has changed other than the costing; the constant pressure to drive costs down has, in my opinion, led to conveyancing being undertaken by inexperienced staff and firms being unable to invest. The factory farm method is fraught with problems, staff have little experience, do not know the locality, often move on and are under pressure to get deals done in volume. This will inevitably lead to errors which may manifest themselves years later when sellers come to move on. To me a good local firm with a partner who has "skin in the game" acting on behalf of buyer and seller is always the way forward. Too often agents opinions are clouded by the commission cheque dangled in front of their eyes!!


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