Home Commercial Property Moving home is taking ‘too long’, how can estate agents manage expectations?

Moving home is taking ‘too long’, how can estate agents manage expectations?

by LLP Reporter
19th Jul 19 9:20 am

Improved communication and increased transparency can help estate agents to manage the expectations of property sellers, according to sales progression and communication tool mio.

It explains that providing consumers with a better idea of what is going on and how long their transaction is going to take can improve customer satisfaction levels. Subsequently, this can increase agents’ chances of developing long-term client relationships.

Lack of information can lead to unrealistic expectations

Transactions taking too long remains an issue for many property sellers and in some cases, this could be attributed to an unrealistic expectation of when their move will go through.

A recent survey of over 5,000 sellers, carried out by GetAgent, found that 63% of respondents felt their transaction took too long, with only 2% indicating that their property sold quicker than expected.

“When it comes to chains and sales progression, estate agents have been working in silos for far too long,” says Jon Horton, product director of mio, part of tmgroup.

“An inability to provide sellers with quantifiable updates and show what is going on across the chain could lead to overpromising and a general vagueness.”

“It’s this issue which means there are too many grey areas for consumers, increasing the chances of misunderstanding and frustration. If sellers can’t get access to the information and updates they require, it’s no wonder so many of them feel their transactions are taking too long,” he says.

Sales progression is a hugely important part of the moving process and it can have a significant impact on a consumer’s likelihood to work with, or recommend an agent again in the future.

“Effective communication is an integral part of sales progression. It’s the single largest area of complaint fielded by the Property Ombudsman and agents need to get better by keeping their clients regularly informed, providing timelines and up-to-date information on the status of transactions,” Horton adds.

“This allows agents to manage expectations and reduce the number of unsatisfied customers who think their transaction took too long.”

Working towards a faster, more transparent moving process

Since 2017, the government has been working to improve the home buying and selling process and reducing transaction times; the national average throughout 2018 was around 18 weeks (126 days).

“It’s crazy to think that a decade ago the average was somewhere between 10-12 weeks and with advances in technology and data insight, one would expect the process to have become quicker, not slower,” says Horton.

Government measures so far announced include publishing ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ booklets and looking closely at whether the introduction of reservation agreements could help.

“Alongside the government’s intervention, the technology available to agents and consumers has improved significantly in recent years,” Horton explains.

“It’s now much easier for agents to manage chains, provide relevant information and communicate with consumers.”

One of the key solutions aiming to improve the sales progression process with positive outcomes for agents and consumers is mio, which was launched on a national basis in May.

This followed a successful 18-month pilot in Cardiff, where mio helped to reduce average fall-through rates to 21%, compared to the UK average of 33%, over an 18-month period.

It also contributed towards speeding up transactions to exchange from the estimated average of 126 days down to 85 days between September 2017 to April 2019 across mio’s community of agents.

mio uses data feeds to automate some of the sales progression and provides much needed transparency by a shared view of the moving chain and milestone updates; helping estate agents to speed up their transactions, as well as reduce their fall-through rates.

Vendors and buyers have access to an app – available on iOS and Android – enabling them to see the progress of their home move, the status of their chain and communicate directly with their agent.

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