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Sean Reeves: Best Practices for Handling Complex or Difficult Transactions

complex transactions

Property transactions are rarely simple – emotions are high, and for the majority of customers it will be the single largest personal purchase they will ever make. That being said, we’ve all come across those transactions that are extra complicated. With mio, you can navigate the trickiest of transactions with confidence. Solicitor and residential conveyancing expert Sean Reeves shares his insider tips on how to handle complex or difficult transactions. 

Demanding Customers

I’ve been faced with hundreds of demanding customers in my time: from inexperienced and over-enthusiastic first-time buyers to seasoned homebuyers with an ‘I-know-best’ mentality – they are all out there. Regardless of their experience and demands, it’s absolutely essential to provide the very best customer service possible and maintain their trust. 

The key to maintaining positive relationships with demanding customers is communication. That’s why something like mio is ideal: using mio, you’re giving your customer all the information they need at their fingertips. You can provide your customers with a shared view of the chain and update them frequently through the mio app, mitigating stress or tension from the homebuyer and preventing them from feeling frozen out. 

From a consumer perspective, you would much rather use an agent or solicitor who was committed to using the mio system. An agent who prides themselves in communicating with their clients will always be preferable to an agent who is trying to hide something from you. 

Long Chains

The longer the chain, the more that can go wrong. With long chains comes multiple buyers and sellers, mortgage brokers, conveyancers and solicitors, creating an almost-impenetrable tangle of communications. 

The difficult thing about very long chains is keeping up to speed with the position of every single party in the chain. The longest chain I’ve been involved in was 16 transactions. That’s 18 sets of buyers and sellers, 18 estate agents, 17 mortgage brokers and 18 solicitors. As you can imagine, this made it very difficult to keep on top of the chain matrix. I was sat at number 10 on the chain, with 5 above and 9 below, so trying to keep up with where people were in the process and getting dates sorted was incredibly hard. Something like mio would be absolutely fantastic for improving communication efficiency and filling in the gaps between agents.  

Split Chains

Split chains can be particularly challenging. Not only are these types of transactions fraught with emotion and added stress, but they also require duplicate effort when it comes to updating both parties on progress. On top of this is the additional pressure of ensuring complete confidentiality, especially in the case of an acrimonious divorce where neither partner wants the other to know where they are moving on to. 

mio simplifies this process, as it allows you to build split chains within the software so you can update both parties simultaneously, without having to create two separate email chains, or make multiple phone calls. 

Bad News

If a survey uncovers a serious problem with a property in the chain or another significant issue arises, the worst thing you can do is to procrastinate and sit on the information. If there is a problem, the problem itself is rarely what causes chain collapse. The issue is normally that everything goes silent. When things go silent all kinds of thoughts go round in someones head (and they are normally wrong). 

When it comes to breaking bad news, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s by phone. It is almost impossible to convey compassion over email or message, so it’s important to speak to your customers directly. The worst thing you can do as an estate agent is hide bad news. Once bad news has been passed on, you can use mio to communicate the next steps with the customer, agent and conveyancers in one sweep and keep things moving, 

Ultimately, the success of every transaction rests on effective communication. A happy customer is one who feels looked after by their agent, have the information they need and can see tangible progress. 

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Sean Reeves specialises in residential conveyancing within the Land Law department, including freehold or leasehold transactions, new build, and shared ownership properties.
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