Recent news has highlighted the increasing pressures that home moving professionals are facing as the market continues to improve and transaction numbers grow. With this added pressure, it’s only natural to see performance strained and it’s all too human of us to find a scapegoat to blame. It’s no surprise to see estate agents and conveyancing solicitors come to blows with professions that are so intertwined and reliant on each other. However, we must not forget that upturns in the market (that do look like they are here to stay) can only be good news for our industry.
It is understandable that estate agents will vent their frustrations when they see transaction times increase however it’s unfair for them to place blame solely on conveyancers, labelling them as ‘slowlicitors’. This increase in workload has undoubtedly led to pressures in the work place and longer working hours for conveyancing staff, fielding ever increasing demands from buyers, sellers and estate agents.
Firms are fully aware that resourcing is an issue that needs addressing. At present the job is stressful, risky, entails long working hours and requires qualified staff able to confidently operate in an industry under ever increasing regulation. This can’t be solved by simply hiring more people. They all left when the market turned. Firms also face competitive fees, squeezed profit margins, negligence risks and soaring professional indemnity insurance. A survey commissioned by the Conveyancing Association last year stated that consumers blamed poor communication between lawyers, lenders and estate agents for nearly one in four failed housing transactions since 2008. It also show that 47 per cent of respondents believed better communication between the various agents would have significantly sped up the purchase or sale process.
So how can high street solicitors process more transactions with fewer resources in less time whilst continuing to manage the expectations of everyone involved. Can technology help? Well technology has already completely transformed the way we buy and sell property.
The answer is yes. Technology will deliver innovative solutions that help conveyancers process more work, automate standard tasks, reduce operational costs, support compliance and help firms meet regulatory requirements. Online conveyancing platforms will provide a complete picture of transactions as they progress, allow everyone involved to collaborate and communicate together, reduce calls chasing for updates and mitigate the frustrations and implications of a lack of communication. Today’s house buyers and sellers are evolving to expect updates instantly and on their own terms. Conveyancing firms and estate agents need to work smarter together and it’s now more important than ever for the industry to embrace technology because it is changing.
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