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Is the housing market slowing?

By Mike Porter from legal mentors


Reports before Easter from the likes of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and the UK HPI Property Transactions Statistics suggested that the number of completions over recent months had fallen. Estate Agents had on average just 43 unsold properties on their books according to the recent Rics survey, the lowest figure since the survey began in 2000. Many Agents also saw a fall in the number of new instructions in March rather than the usual increase.


Now Rightmove says there are signs of a 'strong Spring market' with the average asking price this month across England and Wales standing at £313,655, a record high.


Mixed messages you might think. What really matters to conveyancers is not the transaction price I suggest, but the number of actual transactions. Now, to add further uncertainty, we have a General Election to be held 8th June.


No market likes uncertainty, but if there are to be fewer transactions in the next few months then the question is "What are you going to do to now protect your business from falling revenues?" You have three stark choices, you can:

Accept that you are not going to be as busy as you would like to be which, without cuts to your cost base, will be damaging for your profitability
Increase your pricing to mitigate some of the fall in income, or
Determine to get better at converting more of the enquiries that you have into additional new instructions.

Each enquiry is actually an opportunity to earn a fee so it should be important to you that the enquiry is handled properly. Our experience of calling hundreds of firms suggests that enquiries for quotes need to be better handled than now. Competing on price alone is not good enough. You need to help the prospective client to buy your services, as against a competitor provider, for reasons other than just price. It is not good enough just to seek an email address to send your quote only then to let the opportunity disappear into the ether with no follow-up.


It really is possible to win more new instructions, whatever the market. The most cost-effective way is for your quote providers to be properly trained in how to handle new enquiries better. You will then convert more enquiries into new instructions, generate more of the fees you want and protect, even grow, your profits.


You have a simple choice, accept that your percentage conversion rate will stay the same whatever the market does or train your team in how to win more instructions, often with higher pricing too.


Better conversion rates = more instructions = more fee income = increased profitability.


 If you want your firm to win more instructions, higher value instructions or simply be more profitable, then email mike@legal-mentors.com to request an initial free, no-obligation chat.

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