I would humbly submit that our Firm provides a service that is better than most and is, in fact, comparable to the very best service levels in our profession!
In a perfect world, this should mean that Estate Agents are beating down our doors in order to refer work to us. This is (unfortunately) not happening and I continue to search for the essential elements that inform an Agent's choice of Conveyancer.
I am specifically not going to deal with the kickbacks paid to Agents by Conveyancers. We all know that it happens but (as a highly ethical law firm … don't laugh, there is such a thing) we are not prepared to indulge in illegal behavior. I am therefore not including it in my search for the essential elements that inform an Agent's choice of Conveyancer. Other than to state that we serve and treat our Agents very well, I am not prepared indulge this topic any further.
I therefore continue to actively strive to ascertain what motivates the selection of a Conveyancer. In an effort to get to the bottom of an Agent's motivation, I sent out a survey last year to 183 Agents who were registered with Private Property. Here are some of the more relevant extracts from my survey:
Q1. How long have you been doing business as an Estate Agent?I am a novice, "0.0%"
1 - 3 years, "5.6%"
3 - 6 years, "38.9%"
6 - 10 years, "33.3%"
Too long to remember!!, "22.2%"
Q2. How long have you been listing on Private Property?
Less than 1 month, "0.0%"
1 - 2 months, "0.0%"
3 - 6 months, "22.2%"
6 - 12 months, "38.9%"
More than a year, "38.9%"
Q9. Do you frequently advise Sellers to make use of a Conveyancer that you deal with, know and trust?
Is there a Conveyancer that can be trusted?, "0.0%"
Q10. In a few words, describe what would influence you to recommend a Conveyancer to Sellers.18 respondents answered the question
From the survey, it is clear that although the Sellers may sometimes nominate the Conveyancers, the Estate Agents recommend the Conveyancer in the overwhelming majority of transfers. This is very clearly illustrated in this chart.
18 Respondents answered question 10, which really gets to the heart of the motivation behind an Agent's selection of a Conveyancer. Here are some of the responses:
- he must have a professional, trust relationship with me as an agent before I will recommend him to sellers.
- Only service.
- Good, promp service. Thank - you
- Personal contact - not through the secretary or admin person - it's very frustrating. They assist me in finding information I need to complete a successful transaction.
- SERVICE, KNOWLEDGE, EXPERTISE, SPEED
- Head Office
- Relationship with an Attorney that provides above average service proves to be vital in every transaction. Knowing the job and thoroughly implementing years of experience into daily practice to eliminate errors and shorten the length of time on each transaction bringing a quick and pleasant transfer to conclusion.
- Tell me more
- GETTING FEEDBACK ON A REGULAR BASIS ON TRANSACTIONS.
- Good feedback and quick response.
- Personal relationship and track record
- Trust and relationship
- one who communicates with me and the client at every stage of the transaction
- Good service
- Service and feedback.
It is clear that we have returned to SERVICE as the major motivator. We have done everything in our power in order to ensure that we provide the very best service possible. In this regard please indulge me if I highlight a few:
- We send out weekly detailed comprehensive reports to Sellers, Buyers and Agents wherein we set out the entire history of the transaction and the remaining items on the path to registration.
- I (the Conveyancer) personally go to the clients. This includes Sellers, Buyers and Agents and any other relevant people/entities, in order to ensure that the transfer is registered as expeditiously as possible. It is my job to register the transfer and so I don't sit in my office and expect people to take time away from work in order to come and see me. This also sometimes includes after hours and weekend visits to clients. (Whatever it takes to get things done as fast as possible.)
- We have built up and make use of our Contacts at Municipalities in order to ensure the minimum possible delay.
- Training is important. Our staff regularly attend various training courses so that we are constantly at the forefront of conveyancing developments and fully au fait with the processes and technology involved. In order to better understand the developer's perspective, I attended the very prestigious Property Development Program (PDP), presented by SAPOA and the UCT Graduate School of Business.
- I regularly meet with colleagues and a variety of industry players through my membership of (and participation in) various organisations. I am currently serving as the vice-chairman (Gauteng) of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) and I am a member of the Property Committee of the Association of Pretoria Attorneys. I am therefore at the coalface of developments in property law.
- I have contributed a number of articles to the Media. The most recent being my thoughts on Foreign Investment in South African Real Estate which appeared in the March edition of the Property Magazine.
- I also try and keep in touch through Social Media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and others. My Blog (Gareth Shepperson's First Law) at http://garethsfirstlaw.blogspot.com/ is certainly my biggest contribution to Cyber Real Estate and I hope to add some value through that vehicle.
We continue to strive for excellence and professionalism in what we do and continue to live up to our motto:
"For all of your Real Estate Questions, we are the Answer."
If you are an Estate Agent and have a different view on what motivates your selection of a Conveyancer, I would really love to hear from you.
Brazington Shepperson & McConnell Attorneys