The conveyancing sector is playing catch up in the mortgage and remortgage process and is seen as less technologically sophisticated than brokers, lenders and valuers, according to borrowers surveyed by LMS.
The poll of 1,452 borrowers who remortgaged or purchased a property in the last six months found that 63% described their mortgage valuers as “good value for money” while 78% said the same of their mortgage lender and 83% said the same of their mortgage broker. Just 46% of those polled felt as though their conveyancer was good value for money.
When asked about speed, 55% of borrowers described their mortgage broker as “very fast”, as did 34% when describing their mortgage valuers. While 29% said their mortgage lender was “very fast”, only 14% said the same of their conveyancer. Almost a third (32%) of borrowers described their conveyancer as “very slow”.
Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS, said: “Perception 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 their peers in the mortgage process – brokers, valuers, and lenders – conveyancers come last on a number of measures from value and speed, to proactivity and how much stress they generate. 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.
The poll was commissioned by LMS as part of a report, “Lifting the Lid On The Digital Experience of Mortgage Customers” that was launched to mortgage lenders at the Council of Mortgage Lender’s Mortgage Tech UK 2017 summit on 27th June.
The report also showed that the majority of those surveyed, (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.
It was a similar story when LMS asked how much the different parties in the mortgage process helped or hindered the purchase or remortgage process. More than two-thirds (70%) said their mortgage broker reduced the chance of the deal falling through and made their deal happen.
Just under half (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.
Knee said: “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.”
LMS says poor technology is to blame. Conveyancers are the least technologically sophisticated of any party involved in the remortgage process, according to the report. Almost two in 10 (17%) perceived the technology used by conveyancers as out of date. Just 7% say the same of valuers and mortgage lenders– while just 5% describe mortgage brokers in similar terms.
But better technology offers conveyancers a way to draw level with the other parties involved in the remortgage process. Almost two-thirds (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 (58%), a phone service where they could get straight through (57%), updates via email (50%) or text (36%), apps (37%), and instant messaging platforms for virtual chat and online help (32%).
Knee added: “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.
“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.
“On the other, if the costs involved in the employment of large numbers of people to staff larger call centres prove prohibitive, by lowering the number of incoming telephone interactions through the use of virtual chat tools, as well as better apps and updates, conveyancers can improve the efficiency of existing teams without having to expand headcounts.”