Estate agents are being encouraged to do more to help consumers in England through lockdown by providing a more secure sales process, with a view to allowing for completion to take place sooner rather than later.
Gazeal, which provides buyer information packs and reservation agreements, says the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic have made transactions more fragile and that the pressure on agents is likely to increase during the existing lockdown in England.
The digital platform is concerned that the current economic uncertainty could affect consumer confidence and potentially lead to buyers or sellers pulling out of transactions at short notice.
Bryan Mansell, co-founder of Gazeal, said: “Unfortunately, fall-throughs are part of the property market, but estate agents can reduce their frequency by focusing on secure sales. The risk of fall-throughs has been higher than usual this year and these pressures are likely to continue well into 2021.
“Agents can substantially reduce their fall-through rate by encouraging sellers to provide upfront information and carry out checks early in the process so key issues can be identified and subsequently rectified sooner.”
With many transactions already delayed due to a significant backlog caused by the stamp duty holiday and the release of pent-up demand after the spring lockdown, the impact of the latest restrictions could make things worse, according to Mansell.
He continued: “The impact of under-resourced teams of conveyancers and local authority staff could make things more difficult for agents. If transactions are delayed, consumers will want answers and solutions from their agent.
“Although agents can’t do anything about under-resourcing due to the furlough scheme, there are certain parts of the process which they can control to speed things up and increase security for buyers and sellers.
“Good communication and an emphasis on getting sellers to provide upfront information are two key aspects of the process which agents can focus on to have a positive impact on reducing delays.”
Mansell suggests that during uncertain times, homemovers will ultimately benefit from a more secure sales process.
He added: “A safe and secure sales process reduces stress and increases peace of mind for consumers, while it ensures agents get paid faster and on more properties.
“The market is crowded and competitive at the moment – agents can differentiate their offering by focusing on security and reducing the chances of fall-throughs.
“Being able to tell vendors that you are the safest agency to sell with in the local area due to the processes you have in place is a powerful message that will really hold weight with consumers.
“As well as encouraging increased upfront information and offering reservation agreements, agents can increase sale security by managing expectations and communicating the realities of the market to homemovers.”