In June 2021, Rob Hailstone of Bold Legal Group wrote an article for EYE in which he said conveyancing is not high on the list of jobs young people should consider training for. “Long hours, low pay, responsibility, don’t make it a particularly attractive career option.”
Rob quoted Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, as saying, “A low fee in any profession or business, generally equates to substandard service.”
Now, in a joint press release with Rob Hailstone, Iain McKenzie suggests that estate agents should encourage estate agents who currently charge low fees to raise their fees, reduce their workload and speed up transactions.
With trade times longer than ever and a market beginning to calm down, reducing both trade times and drops is essential. McKenzie even suggests that asking for a referral fee might do more harm than good.
“Not only have the requirements with which real estate agents must comply, but also those with which real estate agents must comply. A better understanding and collaboration between the two groups is essential to move forward.
“Broker workload has increased dramatically over the past 20 or so years and it would appear that technology has not yet been able to fully keep pace with these increases.
“Until new technology solves the problem or the pressure on transfer agents lessens, it makes sense to raise fees (or not charge a referral fee), thereby reducing the number of individual transactions.
“By increasing fees, transfer agents could reduce their workload, it could also prevent transfer agents from leaving the industry and perhaps encourage more to join the industry.
“During their tour, several guild members said they would sacrifice referral fees if it meant a faster transaction.”
Rob Hailstone agrees:
“Unless something drastic is done soon, transaction times will get longer and longer. The surrender is not what it was 15 or 20 years ago. It is much more complicated, complex, stressful and painful. Many brokers are unable to process trades as they would like for their clients.
“There are several reasons for this, but the main one is that the transfer of ownership involved about 12 main steps, it now involves 30 or more.
“Logic dictates that if your workload per transaction increases (three times), the number of transactions you can execute at any one time must decrease, even if technology helps in some areas.
“Add to the fact that there are HMLR delays, SDLT advice should only be left to experts, and requests for updates from customers and estate agents have increased and it is becoming clear that the role of the practitioner of real estate is, at times, almost untenable.”
Hailstone recently conducted a survey at the Society of Licensed Conveyancers conference in Derby.
There were over 200 delegates present and two of the questions asked were:
Do you enjoy being a transfer agent as much as you once did and do you think your role is understood by clients and other real estate professionals?
To the first question, 86% of voters answered no.
On the second, 97% said no.
“Do these problems need to be solved? said Grelon.
Lawyers and transfer agents should charge more