Nearly half of homebuyers say lawyers are too slow in responding

Thornton-Berry: Many conveyancers still rely on paper verification

Slow response time is by far the biggest ‘pain point’ homebuyers have when dealing with conveyancers, according to new research.

Nearly half (45%) of the 2,054 consumers polled by YouGov on behalf of risk management platform Thirdfort gave it as their main bugbear.

It was followed by cost (32%), providing documents such as paper copies of bank statements, utility bills and payslips (24%) and ‘providing information I have already given to an estate agent or mortgage broker/lender’ (22%)

They also cited lack of understanding of the legal process (16%) and confirming their identity (13%).

More positively, just over a quarter (26%) said they have never had pain points when using a conveyancer.

Having a single ID check that satisfies all of those in the home-buying process who currently each have to conduct one is seen as a key plank of speeding it up; the Digital Property Market Steering Group set up in the summer has a sub-committee looking at a digital identity scheme.

Olly Thornton-Berry, co-founder and managing director of Thirdfort, said: “Housing market uncertainty and rising interest rates mean it is more important than ever for homebuyers to get their property transactions over the line quickly.

“Despite this, transaction times are increasing, creating stress and uncertainty for buyers and sellers. Conveyancers are a critical part of this puzzle. Our research shows that law firm clients value a quicker and more efficient service without the administrative headaches associated with compliance and client onboarding.

“Tech developments, such as Open Banking, and biometric verification, can help make compliance simple, fast and secure. Despite this, many conveyancers still rely on gathering paper documents.

“We need more forward-looking property professionals to embrace the latest technology to transform the client experience.”

Thirdfort says it has verified more than a million people on behalf of more than 1,000 conveyancers, lawyers, estate agents and other regulated professional services firms.

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