Home buyers say conveyancing is out of date and too slow, needs technological boost

Home buyers in the UK want the conveyancing sector to enhance technology to increase the speed and convenience of the mortgage process, a new survey suggests.

Only 44% of people who recently bought a home thought the conveyancer was good value for money while 63% thought valuers were and 78% though lenders were.

The research from LMS also found that 32% felt the conveyancer was very slow while just 5% though their broker was not speedy enough, while they also described the technology used by conveyancers as out of date.

Overall the survey found that people regard the conveyancing sector as playing catch up in the mortgage and remortgage process and regard it as less technologically sophisticated than brokers, lenders and valuers.

‘Perceptions of the conveyancing market could do with a positive shift. Borrowers don’t think conveyancers are good value for money or they move fast enough. When it comes to judging them against others in the mortgage process conveyancers come last on a number of measures from value and speed, to proactivity and how much stress they generate,’ said Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS.

‘However, it’s important to remember that conveyancers are often the end of a chain and can be left to highlight issues that may not have previously been expected,’ he added.

The poll also found that 54% said that dealing with their mortgage lender was entirely stress free, while 68% said the same of their mortgage valuer and 69% the same of their mortgage broker. But only 29% of those surveyed said dealing with their conveyancer was entirely stress free.

Some 70% said their mortgage broker reduced the chance of the deal falling through and made their deal happen while 47% said the same about their mortgage lender and 41% said the same about their mortgage valuer. But just 27% said the same about their conveyancer – with 35% saying their conveyancer increased the chance of the deal falling through.

‘Borrowers think conveyancers increase the chance of deals falling through. However, conveyancers are something of a check and a balance and perform more unglamorous tasks than their sales-orientated peers. But nonetheless, there is room for improvement in order to catch up with the other parties in the mortgage process in terms of the customer experience,’ Knee pointed out.

LMS believes that poor technology is to blame. Conveyancers are the least technologically sophisticated of any party involved in the remortgage process, according to the report. Some 17% perceived the technology used by conveyancers as out of date while just 7% said the same of valuers and mortgage lenders and 5% about mortgage brokers.

Some 63% of those polled said they thought better technology would speed up the process, 56% said they thought it would make the process better value for money and 57% thought that better technology would make the process less stressful. Additionally, 42% said they thought improved technology would decrease the chances of deals falling through because of the conveyancing process.

The top five most popular digital innovations that borrowers would like to see are a web-based countdown to completion date, a phone service where they could get straight through, updates via email or text, apps and instant messaging platforms for virtual chat and online help.

‘Consumers think technology could improve their experience of the conveyancing process. They think it would make it faster, better value for money, less stressful, and that it would decrease the chances of their deal falling through. But technology could also help conveyancers improve the analogue elements of the experience that customers want to see improved, such as being able to get straight through on the phone,’ Knee explained.

‘On the one hand, some targeted investment in back office automation would mean that conveyancers can gain efficiencies, freeing up budget which can then be spent on the human resources needed to be instantly available on the phone,’ he pointed out.