A New Communication Tool Claims To Speed Up Property Transactions

A new sales progression and communication tool has been launched which claims to significantly cut house fall-throughs and speed up property transactions.

The new tool called ‘Mio’, which has been successfully piloted in Cardiff for the past 18 months, will be rolled out across England and Wales – which includes an introductory free offer for estate agents.

The users of the tool will have a shared view of the sales chain, listing specific milestone updates while updating in real-time as the transaction progresses towards completion.

While being tested in Cardiff it helped to reduce average fall-through rates to 21%, in comparison to the UK average of 33%. It also cut the time it took to reach exchange of contracts in the transaction process from 126 days to 85 days.

Mio, which is run by tmgroup also boasts a consumer app, which allows home owners to see progression of their sale and status of the chain, plus liaising directly with their estate agent.

Rachel Jones, Senior Sales Manager at Peter Alan Estate and Letting Agent, who piloted the tool since September 2017 said:

“We can easily see where information is missing or milestones need to be updated and pick up the phone immediately to the right person. Overall, Mio has helped to tighten our business processes and reduce the time it takes for a sale to go through. It makes sales progression a lot easier for us.”

400 agency branches have since signed up to use Mio, who has collaborated with Reapit and has become an approved supplier for the relocation Area Network.

Joe Pepper, Chief Executive of Mio’s parent company tmgroup, says:

“The official launch of our Mio sales progression and communication tool for estate agents promises to be a real game-changer in terms of helping us achieve our vision of transforming the property transaction in the UK for the benefit of all.”

The Government has been on a mission to improve the home buying and selling process for a few years as research released by them back in 2017 showed that 69% of sellers and 62% of buyers that experienced delays during the house buying process reported feeling stress due to the delays.

The research conducted by the Government also revealed the following:

  • 46% of sellers had concerns about a buyer changing their mind after making an offer
  • 24% of sellers would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again; and
  • 32% of sellers and 28% of buyers were dissatisfied with the other party’s solicitor

After the findings were released, the Government asked for people’s views on how they could make buying and selling homes in England cheaper, fast and much less stressful.

Former Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid MP said:

“We want to help everyone have a good quality home they can afford and improving the process of buying and selling is part of delivering that. Buying a home is one of life’s largest investments, so if it goes wrong it can be costly. That’s why we’re determined to take action to make the process cheaper, faster and less stressful.

“This can help save people money and time, so they can focus on what matters – finding their dream home. I want to hear from the industry on what more we can do to tackle this issue.”

Following review of all the responses they received, the Government found three key areas that needed improving:

  1. A better consumer experience
  2. Reducing time from offer to completion
  3. Reducing failed transactions

Last year, The Conveyancing Association welcomed the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s response to its Call for Evidence on ‘Improving the home buying and selling process’.

The document sets out the Government’s ‘Plan of Action’ to reduce the stress, the time, and the cost associated with buying a home, and outlines a number of mandatory and voluntary measures it would like to see including:

  • The regulation and ‘professionalisation’ of estate agents including the need to hold a professional qualification and a requirement to be transparent over referral fees.
  • Searches to be available within 10 days.
  • Work on the voluntary take-up of a reservation agreement to help combat ‘gazumping’ and failed transactions.
  • Leasehold – earlier contact with freeholders to speed up the provision of property information; plus fixed time frames and maximum fees for that information and an encouragement to make this available electronically.
  • Encouragement to consumers to get ‘sale ready’ earlier and purchasers to obtain a mortgage decision-in-principle prior to putting in an offer.

It seems, the industry as a whole has been working together to streamline and quicken the house buying process, with the land registry launching a digital local land charges register in order to make the home buying process simpler, faster and cheaper; while this year the Government created ‘How to buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ guides to increase consumer knowledge of the process; plus estate agents must be more transparent with consumers regarding referral fees.

Furthermore, Housing Minister Announce Stricter Rules On Electrical Safety To Safeguard Renters. The new measures demonstrate the Government’s pledge to improve standards in the private rented sector.

One area of concern was gazumping, which is where a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, only to later reject it in favour of a higher offer from a new buyer before the contracts have been exchanged. This year, the Government drew up a draft ‘Reservation Agreement’ for use in conveyancing transactions to prevent it. Law firm Hart Brown analysed the Government’s anti-gazumping proposals but found them far from a perfect solution.

Finally, just last week, Conveyancing Firm, Simply Conveyancing was the first In legal history to launch Alexa integrated system. Customers of Simply Conveyancing will now be able to ask their digital assistant Alexa questions and queries about their conveyancing transaction which is hoped to improve the conveyancing transaction process and reduce the stress associated with buying and selling a property.

As a Conveyancer, do you think enough is being done to improve the housebuying process? Do you think buying and selling homes has become cheaper, faster and less stressful? What more can be done to streamline the process?

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