Knowledge is power

The house buying process can be long and arduous, not just for the potential purchaser but for all the parties involved – brokers, lenders, solicitors and even estate agents. Most won’t see the fruits of their labour until the sale completes, whether that is commission, sales fees, or the keys to a new home. Therefore it is in all their interests to complete property transactions as speedily as possible.

One of the most efficient ways of doing this is to create, as far as is feasible, a homogenous body, working as one towards a common goal – completion – rather than as different, and occasionally competing units. Financial advisers are often well-placed to ensure a transaction goes smoothly by building good working relationships with both estate agents and solicitors.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Therefore, a broker who has nurtured key relationships is usually better informed and can provide vital information to the client about how the transaction will proceed, what they can expect from their solicitor and in turn is required of them. For example, clients may not realise that despite having provided photo identification for money laundering purposes to the intermediary, they will have to do so again for both solicitor and lender.

Developing relationships

So how can a broker go about developing these relationships? Well, one obvious way is to take a walk down your local high-street, write down solicitors’ numbers and start calling to make appointments. Unfortunately, while these companies are likely to have local knowledge, their administrative processes may not be robust enough to withstand large volumes of work. This method of sourcing a supplier is also rather hit-and-miss.

Alternatively, a broker can offer conveyancing services to their client themselves using a specialist company, who can either white-label the service in the brokers name or provide it under a corporate umbrella. As intermediaries are at the frontline of the mortgage business, their clients may ask for advice on these ancillary services – so why not take the opportunity to recommend a conveyancer that you know will get the job done quickly, efficiently and well? A bad conveyancer can mean that the whole deal may fall through altogether.


However, recommending a service brings with it a set of obligations and concerns. A broker needs to be confident in the product they recommend as a client’s satisfaction with a service will inevitably colour their view of the broker who suggested them. Therefore future recommendations and repeat business may be in jeopardy if you give poor advice. So, it is vital that a broker can satisfy themselves with the following to ensure quality:

  • A reliable case management system to ensure outstanding issues are reviewed and progressed regularly.
  • Online access so clients can check on the progress of their case.
  • Good service level agreements with facility for client feedback.
A good relationship can help maintain the flow of information that can lubricate the sales process and ensure glitches are ironed out early on. By cultivating a strong relationship with a panel of legal firms in which you have absolute confidence, you can avoid misunderstanding by ensuring you get regular updates from a specific contact or case manager within a panel firm. In addition, the sale and purchase process is far more complicated and requires a much greater degree of experience, so a solictor/panel manager who predominantly deals with remortgage work is unlikely to be suitable for this. By having access to a panel of solicitors with different specialisms you can ensure your clients instructs the most suitable one.


And let’s not forget how lucrative these relationships can be for a canny broker. Most conveyancing companies will happily fork out a decent commission for any broker referrals that follow through to completion. Paid per transaction, this means every remortgage, transfer of equity, sale and purchase has the potential to earn a broker more money with minimal effort. Referring a high volume of customers to a conveyancing firm also means that you are in many cases able to secure a better deal for your clients, making your offering more attractive.

Working on pure economies of scale, the more business you refer, the better price you get, and the more popular your service gets. Volume conveyancers are able to negotiate better deals for a solicitor’s service than if a client goes direct so it makes sense for a client to have a one-stop shop with their adviser.

Offering conveyancing services to clients is an easy and potentially lucrative revenue stream that many brokers have yet to fully exploit. If you can get a branded service it can also extend your brand with consumers. With the increasingly competitive deals being offered by conveyancing firms, plus the potential for branded offerings they would be well advised to start maximising this opportunity to enhance their service for clients.