Remote working, home schooling, furloughed staff and Local Authority delays are just a few challenges faced by conveyancers during the past year. This is set against a backdrop of growing caseloads with HMRC figures showing a rise of 24% in property transactions compared with December 2019.
On 3 March 2021, the same day as the budget, Rightmove reported visits to its website exceeded nine million for the first time. Rightmove also reported that contact with estate agents on the same day was up a massive 82% compared with the same date last year.
It seems that many consumers have welcomed and responded to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the Stamp Duty holiday will be extended until the end of June and then tapered until the end of September. This combined with the confirmation to make 95% mortgages more widely available, will further fuel the buoyant housing market. For conveyancers already feeling the intense pressure of increased workloads, the months ahead are set to become even busier.
Consumer expectations also need to be considered, with the pandemic increasing a trend to buy online. According to The Centre for Retail Research: retailers saw online sales rise 56% during the Christmas shopping period in 2020, compared to 2019.
Although 2020 was by no means a ‘normal year’, the ease and immediacy of buying on the internet has changed purchasing patterns and raised consumer expectations about acquiring goods and services remotely.
As well as the speed of online shopping, customers can also buy when they like. Suddenly normal business hours have been thrown out of the window! For conveyancers already facing the challenges of heavy workloads, this is not all good news. Yes, the market has opened-up and vendors are now happy to instruct a conveyancer based the other side of the country if they can provide a remote service, better quote or quicker response. On the other hand, this has simply added to the pressure faced by conveyancers on a daily basis.
Technology can offer solutions. However, it can also cause concern. In the past month we surveyed over three hundred law firms, one respondent commented: “Technology can also add to stress as clients expect immediate replies to enquiries.” Another confirmed: “Clients have become more demanding thanks to technology and don’t accept when they have to wait more than five minutes for a reply to an email.”
To find out more about how we can help with enquiry handling, join our webinar on Tuesday 13th April at 11am. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/831491787929582608