ESTAS Newsletter Edition 17

Main Feature

Are consumers ready to pay to speed up the buying and selling process?

By Ben Ridgway, Co-Founder of iamproperty

Are consumers ready to pay to speed up the buying and selling process?

Over the last decade, we have seen the length of time it takes to buy a property through Private Treaty peak at an average of 159 days* during Covid times, to sitting at an average of 132 days* over the last 12 months. That’s longer than most other places in the world including our Scottish neighbours, where completion takes as little as 6 weeks.

When we consider that back in 2007 transaction timescales were an average of 82 days*, it’s no wonder frustrations are worsening for UK buyers and sellers. Estate Agents are feeling the impact too, taking the brunt of it when clients are frustrated, as well as the knock-on effect of transactions not running as smoothly as they could be.

So where do we go from here?

An end to 50-day increases

The volume of property transactions in the UK has more than doubled in the last 10 years, from 714,000 in 2012 to over 1.3 million in 2022. But processes haven’t caught up and the adoption of impactful tech solutions is lagging behind. Couple that with a continued decline in the number of Conveyancers (10% in the last 10 years) and it’s no wonder the process is still slow and fragmented.

We can’t carry on adding 50 days to completion timescales every decade.

As part of our latest edition of Tech of a Life, we partnered with MMC Research to survey vendors and agents to understand the impact of conveyancing on their transactions, exploring how they perceive the process, the pitfalls and potential solutions. We dug deeper into the biggest frustrations with selling a property, and it’s no surprise that conveyancing came out on top.

The top frustration for consumers when selling a property is the conveyancing process taking too long, closely followed by time-wasting and wishing Solicitors were more proactive**.

Conveyancing in today’s market

Whilst we know there are lots of chinks in the transaction armour, consumers’ expectations are still high, so the pressure is on for the sector to drive improvements in 2023. Simply put, the process is taking too long, and the same problems have been around for too long – change is urgently needed.

The data: Vendors

  • Vendors are most likely to find their own conveyancing Solicitor (31%) although Estate Agent recommendations are important (22%).
  • Top reasons for choosing a particular Conveyancer included:
  • - Offering additional services - Faster timeline - Specialism in the type of property / sale
  • 88% said that they’d be prepared to pay more for a more digital, smoother conveyancing process.
  • Getting their property sale ready before it goes onto the market was appealing to vendors, as the benefit of transaction speed outweighed additional costs.

Impact on agents

Agents feel these frustrations too, and just like vendors, the long conveyancing timescale is the biggest issue.

The data: Agents

  • 57% of Estate Agents recommend local Solicitors to clients. 30% work with a Conveyancing Panel Manager, and 23% work with a national conveyancing company.
  • Agents have the same frustrations as vendors when selling properties. 80% said the conveyancing process was taking too long and this was their top frustration. 70% were also frustrated with buyers dropping out.
  • 75% of agents said that any new technology that would speed up sales and aid the conveyancing process would be appealing.

A realistic solution

We’re all feeling the impact of drawn-out timescales and outdated processes. We’ve delved into this further in the latest edition of Tech of a Life. It’s been proven that tech can speed things up and it’s already working well for agents who have adopted it. There is still work to do when it comes to the adoption of tech, among agents and supporting parties like conveyancers, which would help the sector take much-needed steps forward to delivering an improved experience that consumers have been calling out for. But we could go further and make more improvements to the process – things could still be faster, and vendors are willing to pay for it, because in today’s world, for the majority, speed and convenience outweigh costs.

Read the latest Tech of a Life here:

*Home buying and selling data from Landmark Group Insight

**iamproperty January 2023 research carried out with MMC Research

ESTAS Key Date Update

DON’T MISS The ESTAS Shortlist Events!

Every Friday in May we’ll be revealing which agents, conveyancers, brokers and suppliers have made it onto the prestigious ESTAS shortlist for 2023.

Making it onto the shortlist is the first step to winning a famous ESTAS trophy. It’s the culmination of 12 months of hard work by property teams striving to deliver exceptional service to their clients.

So get your team together and get ready to celebrate!

The shortlists will be broadcast on YouTube here:

Here is the order of play…

Friday 5th May

Agent shortlists for East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Friday 12th May

Agent shortlists for North West and South East

Friday 19th May

Agent shortlists for South West, Southern, West Midlands, Yorkshire

Friday 26th May

Shortlists for Conveyancers, Mortgage Brokers, Agent Groups, The People Awards and Supplier Awards.

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