No, it’s not difficult. It’s almost impossible.
Like the NHS, it’s bursting at the seams. Poor pay and overwork meant that last year 48% of fall-throughs were blamed on “solicitor delays”.
That’s 106,000 deals, and with one in three cases aborting yearly, one third of your profit is being flushed down the pan. It’s easy to forget how accepting the usual fall-through rate is decimating your bottom line. I’m happy to say our average fall-through rate is 9% against the average which is over 30%.
Making more money is easy if you have a good conveyancer on board who, for example, will issue the contract pack on day one rather than 2-3 weeks later, take your call, allow you to be involved proactively in the transaction and even chase solicitors in the chain when sticking points arise.
We have learnt a lot along our journey, from running estate agencies to now being the world’s most awarded conveyancing solicitors, but here are 6 things you can easily do right now to get better conveyancing, have happier clients and most importantly double your profit, at least.
- Don’t screw conveyancers on fees. Don’t be fooled, no one works for free. Don’t forget, that’s your money in their hands. Costs average £1,200 to £1,400 when we get bulk work. Our IT systems can adjust the quote to look like a cheaper solicitor, i.e. lower basic, higher additional (but at least we will be open about it) or the London agent may want us to show a higher basic and lower additional. Everyone dresses up the same figures but in different ways.
- Get your conveyancer to prepare a ‘sales ready pack’ – a ‘mini-HIP on steroids’ as some call it. It will convert more valuations into stock, speed up your sales and make you more money. This works best if literally instructed as the property is put on the market. As an agent it will make you look better if you suggest this, and recommend a good conveyancer, at the valuation/appraisal visit.
- With a good conveyancer you can let all parties know that whoever has instructed them is taking a commercial view on the transaction. If you don’t, conveyancers can argue for months over something that can often be resolved simply, commercially, sometimes by a cheap indemnity.
- Give your conveyancer chain information and ask them to chase the chain to feed back any real issues when cases stick.
- Get some conveyancing training. Asking the right questions at the right time goes a long way.
- Ask your conveyancers to come in to your office for the day. Get them in your morning meetings and sit with you to listen to your call-outs. What solicitors sound like when they talk to agents will induce some interesting discussions. Let them feel your frustrations at not getting through when the client is chasing you for an update. They’ll be surprised at the pressure, hours and commitment you have to put in. Many conveyancers still think all you have to do sell the property is to put the property on Rightmove/ Zoopla/ OnTheMarket. They think you get paid ‘big commissions’ when they do all the hard work and get paid a lot less than you because they don’t understand what it is you actually do, so tell them/ let them see.
Collaboration is key between you and your conveyancer, as is mutual respect and a desire for a win-win solution. Don’t sell them on being cheap, but on good value, proper expectation and for putting the time in to get them moved. That’s what it’s all about.