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PropTech Today: ‘Don't blame us, we are not the problem - you are’

I had a wry smile when I read the article on Monday from the conveyancers complaining about people getting off their backs. It was quite fun.

The comments were also interesting. There is a serious disconnect between both sides and it is not going to resolve itself. Each side is blaming each other.

I am sorry to say that this issue is not going to go away anytime soon, quite simply because no one is managing expectations.

• Conveyancers need time to do what they have always done.
• Estate agents don’t have time, and perhaps don’t have the visibility to rest their impatience and frustration at the process taking so long.

It is that simple. That is the frustration. No expectation management and no visibility in understanding the process from both sides.

One comment from Tim stated: “Meanwhile IT this and that nonsense is floated about as some kind of solution or ‘tips for speeding up conveyancing’, which in the hands of a mediocre conveyancer does nothing.”

I might add a mediocre estate agent doesn’t help either, if you view it from the other perspective –  but let’s not digress.

Technology can help if systems are there to help and I know a lot of work from the government is trying to push through reforms to help conveyancers do their job, particularly around searches BUT let’s look at it with today in mind.

Technology may not help completely with the process itself but it can help, I believe, with managing expectations and clearly pointing out where flaws in the process (or conveyancer) exist.

If we can offer transparency to all sides, it may lessen the frustration and may allow the agent to manage the buyers and sellers to make for a more fluid transaction with less chance of falling through.

It may also keep the agents off the back of the conveyancers. But I can’t promise.

Let me explain.

Many, many firms focus on the quick wins of improving the transaction experience – I might even suggest the UK leads the way here given the sheer volume of companies that exist.

The ability for people to search for their next house. The ability to view the chosen few and then how to make the offer process more efficient.

Anybody can really get involved there. It is simple to understand, and easy to develop for.

Post-offer acceptance, it gets super complicated and more difficult for people outside of industry to understand what the hell is going on.

And this is the problem. When you put insecurity into the equation, it breeds frustration and concern into a transaction. Then everyone gets jumpy, estate agents get nervous of deals falling through and they put the pressure (and the blame) on conveyancers.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned the speeches I give and brought in my example of how iBuyers give ‘certainty’ to transactions.

This current argument – and it is just that – speaks to a second trend I mention. Transparency.

When I give these speeches, I generally try to make the companies I then showcase relevant to the audience I am speaking to. Yesterday, it was a Canadian conference and so the majority of companies were either Canadian or American.

The slide below shows some of the firms from yesterday’s presentation. You can see the iBuyers there with the American and Canadian slant. Then there are those that give transparency in the transaction process.

You will note they are only British firms. That is because we have leading firms that are helping the process. We should be embracing firms like these to help streamline this difficult time to aid both sides of the market.

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