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Why so resistant to change?



There is a general acceptance now that climate change is real. It is almost unbelievable that it was still being denied by many just a few years ago. You would have been living under a rock for the last decade to not have noticed that seasons merge into each other now with extremes becoming quite normalised.


As we move towards a zero-emission future where the internal combustion engine is to be banned, a glimmer of light can be seen, except there is still a great deal of talk, and often little or no real action.

Whilst climate change IS literally a life or death issue for all of us, the state of UK conveyancing is NOT, although is can sometimes feel that way. Thankfully, fall through rates have improved of late, but it remains a fact that the current processes have slowed up house sales to an almost glacial pace, often taking 20-25 weeks to reach a satisfactory completion.

So what can be done?

It is no coincidence or secret that fall-through rates in Scotland are tiny, largely driven by an ‘auctionesque’ system that demands upfront data be provided and laid bare for all to scrutinise before an offer is made. Buyers also invariably have funds agreed upon before looking at property, how novel.

Across the border, we have a much more laissez faire attitude, which enables the ‘tyre kicker’ seller to put the property on the market to ‘test the water’, gain a lot of excitement and then decide to stay put. This is the Estate Agents' worst nightmare because of the amount of money spent on listing the property, the gallons of fuel, and the wearing out of a perfectly good pair of brogues with absolutely no reward. Sellers coming to the market have seemingly no input in their sales, no cost of entry, and no downside to changing their minds.


We believe fundamentally that Estate Agents have the power to dictate that the process be tightened up by making sure that Seller know that they are active, NOT passive, participants in the sales process.

They should make sure that sellers:

  • Commission a suitable ID/AML report

  • Complete Legal Protocol Forms (BASPI if preferred)

  • Commission an Environmental Report to highlight possible challenges

  • Find crucial documents, pertinent to the sale and store them safely (Fensa certificate, Building Control, Electrical conformity, Boiler service agreement etc)

Typically a seller is waiting for a buyer to be found and the Estate Agent is itching to negotiate a sale, then absolve themselves of all responsibility, passing the onus onto the buyer and their legal representative. Weeks are then spent checking how much can be borrowed, finding and instructing a solicitor, paying for a survey........you know the rest! A spiralling downward journey exacerbated by each link in an unhealthy sales chain.


Simple fixes are available to reduce the 'them & us' scenario which reared it's ugly head during the pandemic. Shouts of 'conveyancers are useless" and "everything was going well until XYZ firm got involved" rang out across the nation. The willingness to state that "I've done my bit so the rest must be someone else's fault" became commonplace. But is that ok? Is that the reason why there is a resistance to change?


If an Estate Agent Agent delivers a broader offering of support to get the conveyancing administrative tasks done up front with a seller, is there a perception that they can no longer apportion blame? We hope not. We are hoping that the market has simply been too busy to adopt progressive change and now that the market has slowed up somewhat, there may now be the ability to step away from the coal face and reflect upon what can be done to improve the process of moving home.


We have seen massive appetite from the Home Moving public to want to get involved sooner in the process. To get better prepared for the move and collate information pertinent to their sale. We have seen buyers want to take more control over Search ordering to be seen to be 'doing their bit' to shorten timescales and not be seen as the ones to hold things up.


With so many solutions being made available to Estate Agents and their clients we are hopeful that we are entering a time of change. A time for improved collaborations between the Property and Legal Sectors and an adoption of solutions that empower Home Movers to get involved and better understand the process of moving. For many, the thought of change will take them far outside of their comfort zones, but those that don't take the leap of faith and help drive change, will soon be perceived as falling short of expectation and client demands.


For more information about how Property Searches Direct can help your business, get in touch with us to arrange a meeting to discuss what we have available for you by clicking HERE

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