Estate agents move to forge law links

Amanda Jarvis

April 12, 2006

The research revealed that eight out of ten (83%) of estate agents felt that relationships with their local high street law firms could be more mutually beneficial than at present. In addition, nine out of ten (89%) estate agents said they would use a conveyancing law firm that offered a HIP service over one that did not.

With home information packs due to become a legal requirement from 1 June 2007, it is vital that high street estate agents and law firms look to form stronger alliances to avoid the possibility of losing business to the larger market players.

Although estate agents will be able to compile Home Information Packs on behalf of the seller, it is likely that many estate agents will farm out the actual compiling of the packs to a third party provider.

According to the survey, only 22% of estate agents plan to compile HIPs in house. More than half (57%) intend to outsource the pack to a third party provider such as a conveyancing law firm or one of the hundreds of companies currently being set up to provide a HIPs service.

However, with the Home Information Packs expected to include legal documents, a solicitor will need to be involved in the process. This makes the local conveyancing firm a much more credible option, particularly if they already offer a HIP service.

It also means that if the HIP leads to a sale, any ongoing conveyancing work can be provided by the same law firm. By working with their local law firms, estate agents can ensure that consumers are provided with a HIPs service that is fast, accurate, credible and offers real value for money.

Malcolm York, director at ConveyanceLink, commented: “There is a tremendous opportunity for local estate agents and high street law firms to benefit from the introduction of Home Information Packs but in order to do so they need to be working together right now.

“Independent estate agents should be building relationships with local conveyancing firms that are planning to offer a HIP service. This will not only ensure that the estate agent can trust the accuracy and credibility of the packs but any ongoing work following a sale can be provided by the same conveyancing practice.

“From the consumers’ point of view, they will feel more comfortable knowing that their HIP is being compiled by a local law firm that has in-depth knowledge of the area rather than by one of the many start ups or a national provider that may not be able to provide the personal touch offered by a local conveyancer.”

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