The private treaty process has been in need of modernisation for a long time. When we open an account with a new bank, we can take a selfie on our mobile phone and upload it there and then, but still have to physically go into an estate agent’s branch to onboard as a new client.
We can track exactly how many stops away our online order is by logging onto a mobile app, but have to call our estate agent to get updates on our property sale. We’re in a digital world and used to doing things online, now more than ever as businesses have adapted to trading during lockdowns. There’s a want and need for the moving process to go more digital, for the benefit of consumers and everyone who works in the industry.
There’s scope for the whole process to be digitised and improved and I’m not alone when I say it’s currently slow and fragmented with a lot of duplication that wastes time. Both estate agents and consumers are calling for change, and we found out exactly what when we asked agents and UK homeowners what their experience of the private treaty process is.
What estate agents think about the private treaty process:
There’s a growing administrative burden – agents are spending six hours per week on average catching up on admin tasks outside of work hours, that’s 24 hours each month! Some agents are spending as much as 15 hours per week!
When it comes to the parts of the process that have the most delays and can make relationships with clients more challenging, 60% said the conveyancing process followed by AML and title checks.
A huge 98% agreed that delays in the process that aren't in their control cause their clients to become frustrated with them and negatively impact their experience of working with their business.
If they had more time, 98% said they’d most like to spend it on client relations, marketing and business development.
The majority think that great communication, personal service and knowledge and guidance are what clients value most from their estate agent.
What consumers want the private treaty process to be like:
A majority (69%) think the process for buying and selling a home in the UK needs to change.
When asked what their estate agent could have done to help improve the experience, the most common responses were ‘better communication around delays, timelines and process’ (53%) and ‘more regular updates on progress’ (23%).
98% agreed they’d like to have access to a system where they could login and track the progress at each stage of the process and see what tasks are outstanding in their transaction.
If they were to buy or sell a property again, things that would be most important to them are ‘to be able to access all information in one place’ (82%), ‘for the process to be quicker from start to finish’ (72%), ‘to be given a clear outline of the process and timescales from the outset’ (71%) and ‘to be able to see/access regular updates without having to chase various parties’ (67%).
Ultimately, estate agents’ admin workload is making it more challenging for them to spend time on things that offer the most value to their clients and role, which are the parts of their job they love. Meanwhile, consumers want the process to be faster, a clear understanding of timescales and to be able to see updates on progress when it’s convenient for them.
This is exactly what we’ve built our new digital onboarding platform movebutler to achieve, streamlining the moving process and improving the experience for everyone involved in transactions. It’s unique to the market as transactions can be completed end to end, right from the onboarding process through to AML compliance, then getting clients sale-ready - all while offering key moving services at the right time.
Existing solutions in the market tend to focus on one or two aspects of the transaction. We already have over 800 branches using it and are offering free demos now. Book a demo today.
*Ben Ridgway is Group Managing Director of iamproperty