How to make the sales process less stressful for property owners
Helpful advice |
June 24, 2021 | Liz
With the full stamp duty holiday coming to an end on the 29th June, it’s been a very busy period for both estate agents and conveyancers. For Harrisons it’s highlighted a few issues that we believe that could be improved both within and between the two industry’s especially when you consider that we are all working towards the same result, and that is simply to transfer ownership of property.
We have long been very vocal that there needs to be regulation and training within the estate agent industry. This is why we are members of NAEA Propertymark, who are an organisation that set professional industry standards though regulation and accredited qualifications. As members we adhere to these standards and provide continuous training to all of our team. Recent months has just highlighted how many other agents have serious gaps in their knowledge and have no training or guidance within their organisation to fall back on.
This article isn’t intended to be one of those that reads as one estate agent claiming to be better than their competitors, there are good and bad agents as there are good and bad in most industries. The aim of this article is to highlight the issues within our industry, and hopefully, we can suggest some solutions and improved working practices. With this in mind, we need to remember that the Estate Agent industry has no standard in the way things are done, we believe that we need to start to standardise as an industry. Until then, we make these observations and offer solutions.
The role of a sales progressor is a very important role and one that should be with a very experienced member of the team who understands the ins and outs of how a property transactions work and the order in which things happen. Yet, all too often this role is assigned to a member of the team with little experience and they are expected to chase the various parties involved just using a checklist and ticking things off as they go. It’s not their fault that they may not be able to spot a potential problem developing, it’s not their fault that they don’t understand issues, they have not had the correct training or experience and so, things do go wrong. This issue is compounded even further when agents set up sales progression teams which are often located in a central office, away from the branch who understand the sale, know the clients involved and know the history of the case.
As estate agents, we believe that one of the first things we can do to make the sales process a smoother one is to stop undervaluing the role of a sales progressor. Ensure that this position is filled by someone who has the correct experience, training and most of all support should problems arise. Understanding the process and knowing what to do should things go wrong, not only saves time and money it also ensures the client does not have unnecessary stress.
Another thing us agents could be better at doing, is communicating with each other. Let’s be honest if there is an issue, let’s communicate if the chain is updated, let’s remember that it’s better all-round if we can be quick to act and as open and transparent with each other as possible. If we work together, we can improve process and in turn improve the image of our industry.
And so, to solicitors. It is also the case that there are good and bad ones, even so there is much that they too can do to improve the sales process and make things better for all. Solicitors, known conveyancers, have had a very busy year thanks to the Stamp Duty Holiday and their case loads are currently very high. However, understanding and working with agents can be the key to relieving some of this.
Conveyancers often complain that they waste time taking calls and responding to emails from sales progressors that “just have a tick box exercise to do” and we can see that this can be frustrating we understand! However, working in the industry you will quickly be able to spot good agents that understand the process and are willing to work with you rather than just ticking things off.
Agents are on the frontline. The property owner is the client of both the conveyancer and the agent, we both have a job to do to ensure they get the best possible service and the desired result of a property sale. Though the client can chase conveyancers directly they often wont. Mostly this is because they don’t understand the sales process or they legal jargon. It’s easier to chase the agent, especially when things get stressful and so in turn the agent chases for updates.
Ignoring agents calls or emails, passing the buck to the other party, or just giving one line replies with very little information is one way to focus on your caseload. But this isn’t the best way in our opinion, as it just leaves the client chasing harder, and this is where a lack of trust and blame start to creep in.
If agents and conveyancers can find a way to work together, to make a commitment that agents will not work from checklists, will be qualified to deal with the sale process and will not chase unnecessarily. Perhaps conveyancers can commit to more communication, copy us in on correspondence for updates and trust the agent to keep the client updated. Work with us to get the best result for our joint client with the least amount of stress.
Surely that has got to be the best result for everyone?