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Perfect storm of delays culminates in finger-pointing at the conveyancing process

Available to download now, the latest research report – ‘The New Normal’ – from mio, tmgroup and Conveyancing Data Services (CDS) has revealed that the conveyancing process and searches were predominantly held responsible for delays across the property transaction. This was owing to sheer volume of transactions, inconsistencies and lack of collaboration, as the reports commentators reflect:

Sheer volume wreaked havoc on the conveyancing process

The survey of almost 800 property professionals highlighted that sheer volume was believed to be at the heart of the issue, as summed up by one Residential Conveyancer who said; “the sheer number of transactions caused the delays”. Whilst an Estate Agent added; “Not enough hours in the day! Volume. Pure and simple!”.

These comments were unsurprising given the chaos high volumes were causing ‘behind the scenes’ too, as Joe Pepper, CEO at tmgroup comments:

“The volume of new instructions pushed up the capacity of the industry, causing each sale to take longer which in turn increased the volume of work in the process to further break the model. Many Local Authorities reduced and restricted access to their search provision service too, which saw average search times double at certain periods. There were even several high-profile authorities where search times increased by over a month! Delays were then exacerbated by the volume of associated communication that was demanded by all parties, giving rise to the view that other parties contributed to the problem.”

Distinct lack of collaboration and consistency also laid bare

That’s not all, inconsistencies across the country created their own challenges, as Martin Manning, Sales Director at tmgroup explains:

“As with everything in the property transaction, there’s no silver bullet or magic fix. However, striving for consistency across all areas of the process – as we all find our feet in ‘The New Normal’ – could prompt a much-needed sea change. Some of the biggest problem areas include; the postcode lottery of Local Authority turnaround times, the huge discrepancies between the firms who do their file opening in hours vs. weeks, and the unnecessary lag created by home movers only engaging a Conveyancer when they’ve agreed a sale or purchase (instead of much earlier on in the process). It won’t change overnight, but if everyone takes the initiative to help move the dial in the right direction, it could be a win-win for speeding up the conveyancing process all round.”

It’s equally vital that more property professionals put their best foot forward in supporting the collaboration agenda, as Nick Ball, Sales Director – mio comments:

“Everything from regularly reviewing panels, and proactively reaching out to help better support the completion of property fixtures forms (and similar), to championing searches being ordered early on, can go a long way in making things easier all around. There are already some fantastic examples out there of Estate Agents and Conveyancers working better together. This is what we all need to strive for as we settle into ‘The New Normal’.”

Want to find out more? Download your FREE copy of ‘The New Normal’ here. A ‘first look’ at the report was also discussed at a tm:tv special back in January 2022. Watch the recording here.

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