Caring for an industry under pressure
Written by Scott Bozinis, CEO, InfoTrack UK
Over the past few weeks, new buyers have been entering the market, eager to complete on a sale before the new deadline passes. While this is something that companies across the property sector will celebrate, particularly after multiple lockdowns have harmed business activity, we should also acknowledge the challenge such an extension poses. I am, most notably, talking about the stress being felt by conveyancers and legal professionals in attempting to meet this sudden spike in buyer activity.
We were already seeing mounting pressure prior to the deadline being extended. Ahead of the Budget, when the SDLT holiday was scheduled to finish at the end of March, a large bottleneck was already forming. Buyers wanted to complete before the deadline, putting conveyancing firms under immense strain. The extension of the holiday offers some relief, but it will only delay this same issue.
This is because the same challenges still exist. Useful analysis by GetAgent.co.uk puts this into perspective: it has revealed that the total time to sell a property – from the initial listing to the completion of the sale as recorded by the Land Registry – is now sitting at an average of 295 days. It also noted that the delays commonly arise at the closing stages of the transaction when the necessary legal work needs to be completed.
So, what can the conveyancing industry do so that they can best address the influx of enquiries they are likely to receive while not undermining the standard of service they provide?
In a practical sense, these companies need to ensure they are actively integrating tech solutions into their core operations. Positively, this is becoming standard practice. Indeed, it is encouraging to see conveyancing firms look to technology during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to overcome the various challenges brought about by remote working, lockdowns and social distancing.
Some firms have, for example, embraced eSignatures and automated communication channels – two ways of reducing the time required to complete a transaction at the critical closing stages. What’s more, existing technology can be used for client onboarding, shortening a process that would traditionally take up to take weeks down to less than an hour.
All that being said, I still believe it is incredibly important not to overlook the stress and pressure being felt by those in the conveyancing and legal sector. In these uncertain times, the need to adhere to deadlines and process applications, particularly when buyers are seeking to take advantage of the SDLT holiday, has started to feel very overwhelming.
That is the reason why InfoTrack is proud to be supporting Today Conveyancer’s “Call for Kindness” campaign. I am hopeful this initiative will give professionals in our industry the confidence to voice their concerns and seek support during what is set to be a busy summer.
So long as the SDLT holiday remains in place, the property market will be alive with activity InfoTrack is committed to Today’s Conveyancer’s Kindness campaign. We are here to support the conveyancing sector in any way we can. If we can be of support to you or your business, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our business is here to help. The tools are there; the challenge is selecting and applying the most appropriate ones.
About the author
Scott Bozinis is the CEO of InfoTrack UK – the home of digital conveyancing. A powerful suite of solutions from client onboarding and searches to post-completion and e-signature services, InfoTrack digitises the entire conveyancing process to assure compliance and productivity. Its technology takes on the burden of paper-intensive, demanding administrative tasks within a single, award-winning platform. We empower firms to focus on delivering an exceptional client experience with every transaction. InfoTrack; the smart, sophisticated, secure solution for digital conveyancing.