The property industry must pull together to stop from falling apart, industry report reveals

Now more than ever, property professionals across the sector need to pull together and collaborate more closely to make business gains, according to the ‘Back to the Future’ report.  The major research report by tmgroup reveals a call for increased, more proactive cooperation to ease the work burden and unlock the property transaction, for the benefit of everyone involved. 

With transactions taking typically 5-6 months to process and a one in three failure rate, the industry is suffering from a distinctly slow moving sales cycle, reducing the ability to earn consistent revenue. For many property professionals across the board, this is unsustainable.  What changes do property professionals agree could improve the speed and success of transactions through greater collaboration?

Better cross-communication between stakeholders

Many of those surveyed look to estate agents, as the first port of call for movers, to help their clients understand the importance of beginning to prepare the legal groundwork when going to market, and vitally how instructing a conveyancer right at the beginning of the process can shave 3 weeks off their transaction time.

Agents and conveyancers mutually benefit from the use of upfront material information and estate  agents play a vital role in pulling this together as part of their client onboarding. In doing so they will save time and iron out any potentially unforeseen issues down the line. At the recent tm:tv session panellists discussed what could be done. Alison Taylor, Knowledge Lawyer at Mishcon de Reya LLP explained, “The seller’s usually going to focus on getting the house ready for market, but the paperwork to go with it is just as important.” By working collaboratively agents and conveyancers can agree what upfront material information can be gathered and shared right from the point of instruction.

Conveyancers can also reinforce this culture shift by working more closely with agents to encourage this early information gathering. When armed with this upfront material information, they can be proactive in making preliminary investigations on the property which could affect not just the timescales for the sale, but even the seller’s ability to attract a suitable buyer in some cases. Rob Hailstone, Founder of the Bold Legal Group, adds, “Trading Standards would like conveyancers to be instructed before a buyer has been found. Discuss how, by working together, you can get the sellers on board.”

By communicating and agreeing a framework for the collation and exchanging of upfront information, agents and conveyancers can improve their working relations. This kind of collaboration is an important step towards mitigating the risks that might prevent or stall their transaction success.

Increase information data flow and transparency with tech

Tech integrations and automations that identify where transaction roadblocks and challenges might be, or those that deliver automated insights and updates, were supported by property professionals surveyed, as a way to increase transparency between stakeholders and therefore encouraging collaboration.

“Technology continues to play an increasingly important role in the exchange of information and data about a property, and in facilitating greater confidence in joint collaboration,” explains Paul Albone, Chief Operations Officer at tmgroup. “Tech systems allow all parties to and can keep progress on track and create operational efficiencies by showing people where they most need to focus their time, effort and resources to achieve successful outcomes.” Embracing these and the role tech solutions can play in identifying road blocks, and understanding how we can share this information with other professionals within the property transaction, will only help improve and streamline the property transaction process.

Deeper understanding and education of roles

The report also unveiled widespread desire for more kindness and understanding among those working within the property industry.

People are key in the transaction. All too often, those working on the frontline find their efforts are being derailed, which makes an already hard job even harder.  Greater empathy and awareness would make the process of transacting property less stressful and more productive.

Better education and wider training on all sides of the transaction on people’s roles and demands would promote a greater understanding of each other’s business needs and alleviate some frustrations with the legal process. Such insights would nurture a wider sense of camaraderie and the rebuilding of trust between stakeholders over time.

Dan Creed, HR Director at tmgroup comments, “With so many varying businesses coming together and working towards one outcome, it’s important to show kindness and understanding of each other’s pressures and timescales.”

Work pressures threaten people exodus

The ‘Back to the Future’ report highlighted there is a clear consensus that the property industry should forget the human aspect of property transactions at its own peril.

High stress levels, long working hours, and lack of collaboration and respect from other professionals, has caused many to fear an exodus of experienced staff. This would create further pressures on staff, service levels and turnaround times.

There’s every risk that without change, more professionals will leave the industry and never return, and lead to a crisis in recruitment and shortage in skills the industry needs to thrive.

tmgroup Marketing Director, Verdi Taylor-Bishop, concludes, “There’s a perfect storm brewing. It could still blow in positive change by working better together as an industry and focusing on what unites us, rather than what divides us. We can achieve this through improved cross-party collaboration between the industry’s people, processes and technology systems wherever possible.”

Download the full ‘Back to the Future’ report to find out more about what 850 property professionals had to say on the burning issues facing them right now, and what industry changes they want to see for a healthy future.

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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