No silver bullet for achieving collaboration

Ahead of the “‘Top 5: Initiatives to boost collaboration across the property transaction” tm:tv session at 12 noon on Tuesday 24th May, Joe Pepper, CEO of tmgroup asked the panel: “What’s been the real sticking point in achieving collaboration in recent years?” The answers were enlightening as to the scope of the challenges facing the industry…

“Referral fees driving a culture of business relationships – instead of personal ones”

“This is an interesting question and one that implies that in past years collaboration (in particular between estate agents and conveyancers) was better than it is now. So, was it? In my opinion (and I go back a long way) yes it was, but why?

For a number of reasons: referral fees are far more prominent now than they were in the past, and more reliance has been placed on them, creating a more ‘strictly business’ relationship than a personal one; the fact that conveyancing has become more involved, and as a result, slower, and frustrating for estate agents (amongst others); lack of face-to-face contact, including very few visits to offices, or business lunches; and, of course Covid!

Will this situation improve? Without doubt! The forthcoming changes to Material Information means that conveyancers and estate agents are going to have to work more closely together than they have done in recent years. That can only be good for all parties, clients, agents, conveyancers and good for transactions. Ultimately, reducing fall through rates and transaction times. I now believe that some kind of Property Transaction Pack will be created before a buyer has been found, and that has to be a good thing.”

With thanks to Rob Hailstone, Founder of Bold Legal Group

“Suspicion, lack of trust, and more!”

“Collaboration is key to a less stressful and faster conveyancing transaction for the client, lawyer, and estate agent. The most significant sticking point in collaboration is the lack of communication and commitment for conveyancers to work more closely together with other conveyancers and the estate agents. Is this due to lack of trust, suspicion or time, and resources? All four! Should that stop change to a more collaborative approach? Of course not.

We must all do more to change the mental approach of the two biggest interested parties in the moving process – the conveyancer and the estate agent – to stop being suspicious and start trusting the system more. We are on the same side! Our ultimate objective is to get the client moving – crucial when the abortive rate is around the third mark.”

With thanks to Angelo Piccirillo, CEO of AVRillo Conveyancing

“The myth that consumers don’t want to update the rest of the chain”

“I could deliver my best service to consumers when I was able to collaborate with estate agents and provide regular updates. People will be extraordinarily patient so long as they know what the situation is.

However, the moment they lose sight of that, then the feeling of control is gone and they start getting stressed. There is a concern that consumers might not want to update the rest of the chain – but this is a myth. Yes, there will be some bad actors who don’t want people to know that they are delaying, but these are few and far between.”

With thanks to Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at the Conveyancing Association

“The widespread adoption of email”

“Modern technology is a wonderful thing, but the widespread adoption of email in particular has come at a real cost to collaborative working. Increases in workload, coupled with the ease with which we can send emails, has significantly reduced the amount of time we spend actually talking to each other. It is very difficult to build a constructive, collaborative, working relationship over email. You miss too many vocal and visual cues.

Collaboration relies on trust and trust is developed through human connection. Email will always have an important role to play, but we need to adopt a wider mix and range of communication methods (including telephone or video calls and in person meetings) if we are to build the trust needed for a genuinely collaborative property sector.”

With thanks to Nicola Gooch, Partner – Planning at Irwin Mitchell

“The archaic process needs replacing – with a blend of technology and good old fashioned customer service”

“The real sticking point continues to be the archaic process to transact property in this country. Everybody is fed up of it, in particular for leasehold – including clients, they seem to think that it should only take a couple of months to progress. In 2022, why doesn’t it? But if we look at the pandemic era we have seen both the best and the worst in this industry. The best when everybody came together to support one other during the most difficult of times within our generation and fully complied when our doors, be it physically or virtually, reopened.

The worst when the market buckled because there simply wasn’t the resource available to cope with the stamp duty gold rush and unfortunately the blame game continues to appear vitriolic at times and once again we have seen an exodus and renewed focus on mental health. Is it any wonder the consumer has such a dim impression of our industry?

Now really is the time for our beloved industry to come together and truly collaborate. Through a blend of technology and good old fashioned customer service with neither setting out to replace the other.”

With thanks to Tom Gilbert, Head of EA Services at Sort Move

It’s clear there’s no silver bullet for achieving collaboration

So, how do we move forward together? Tune into our next tm:tv session “Top 5: Initiatives to boost collaboration across the property transaction” at 12 noon on Tuesday 24th May, where an expert panel will share their thoughts on how people, processes and technology all have a part to play in enabling better collaboration across the property transaction – for the benefit of all. Click here to register.

All part of a six-part series called Achieving Change: Think tomorrow, act today! in a refreshing “Top 5” format – brought to the market by tmgroup, Conveyancing Data Services (CDS) and mio.

This article was submitted to be published by tmgroup as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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