Firms “can benefit hugely from the ‘Sell with Solicitor’ model” says property services Director
With various acquisitions and company mergers becoming more frequent, and the demands of home movers increasing, the idea of solicitors and licensed conveyancers providing a wider range of services comes into question.
This is something that’s particularly the mindset of Mijal Raja. The Director of the conveyancing and estate agency services provider, Conveyancy Agents believes that the market is perfectly poised for conveyancing solicitors and licensed conveyancers to integrate property sales as part of their service. We spoke to him about why this would benefit the profession and whether he thinks there is sufficient consumer demand.
Why do you think conveyancing and estate agency services need to combine?
“I believe that the property sector will look very different in a few years’ time, as we see the market embracing different ways of selling and buying property.”
“A government research project report stated that “there is a lack of innovation in business models, price structure and charges” in the estate agency sector. In any other sector or business, it would be hard to imagine that the lack of innovation has kept the business offering the same for the past four to five decades.”
Is there a reason this type of service provision hasn’t been taken up?
“The concept for solicitors and conveyancers to sell property is not a new one. The law was changed some twenty years ago to allow this, but the take up in the UK has been very low. In Scotland, of course, this is the way property has been sold for many years.
“I believe that culturally it’s not been an area for solicitors because of the traditional high street estate agency model, which has been a difficult one to compete with. High street premises are not cheap! Plus, the advertising in local press has meant a substantial investment on the solicitor’s part if they wanted to compete, not to mention the resource element of setting up and running an estate agency in-house operation.
What are the main issues that could drive these combined services?
“The conveyancing sector itself is under pressure, with low fees and call centre competition. We are now seeing some organisations outsourcing conveyancing files to overseas operations. This will drive fees even more competitively and force some traditional solicitors to look at other areas of gaining the competitive edge.
“We are seeing the whole conveyancing process undergoing changes and in the Conservative manifesto says “A Conservative government will reform, and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly”. This could see further reductions in conveyancing costs.”
Is there consumer demand for this?
“A new generation of home buyers and sellers don’t seem to want to walk the high street anymore, registering details with estate agents. The landscape has changed in the high street estate agency model, with the emergence of online style agents dominating the media and changing the mindset of sellers and buyers alike. This is a perfect opportunity for solicitors and conveyancers to enter the new landscape with a model which benefits the consumer.
What type of conveyancing firms would this work best for?
“I think for solicitors who have a high level of conveyancing in their business mix or strategically want to increase sales, can benefit hugely from the ‘Sell with Solicitor’ model.
“Most consumers would benefit from reduced selling fees whilst the solicitor would generate additional revenue, particularly those who have probate work which currently they pass to a third party.”