One of the particular characteristics of the property market is how it brings contrasting professions together. From estate agents to conveyancers, mortgage brokers to lenders, and surveyors too. Very different professions that need to collaborate, to work efficiently together in order to achieve something significant – buying someone a home.
The stereotype has long been that estate agents and conveyancers are like chalk and cheese, opposites even by the very nature of the work they do. Rarely seeing eye to eye and rubbing each other the wrong way throughout the property transaction process.
However, off the back of our Working Better Together Report, we’ve found that the old stereotype might not be quite as true as once claimed. The statement: “Estate agents are from Venus and Conveyancers are from Mars” (or vice versa, I can never remember) is being turned on its head.
Two professions frustrated by the same things
It’s a stressful industry to work in, no doubt about that. For some time now estate agents and conveyancers have referenced the deteriorating conditions of the profession, so we asked them exactly what it was that frustrated them about their work.
The results were fascinating as many of the estate agents and conveyancers we surveyed shared the same frustrations about feeling undervalued, the increasing costs associated with the job, and being overworked.
Estate agents and conveyancers both feel undervalued
According to the results of our survey, estate agents and conveyancers placed feeling undervalued at the top of the list of frustrations about their work.
Felt slightly stronger by estate agents (17%) than conveyancers (16%), but this is a sentiment that only worsens the longer individuals have spent in their respective professions, of those with more than 10 years of experience, estate agents (24%) and conveyancers (21%) were even more likely to feel undervalued than their less experienced peers. You don’t have to look far to find professionals on either side saying how much busier they’ve been in recent years with little or no acknowledgement of the work they do.
Operating costs continue to surge
The second most frustrating aspect of estate agents' and conveyancers' jobs was the increasing costs of work. Felt more strongly by conveyancers (17%) than estate agents (16%), it’s right up there with feeling undervalued as a main frustration of the job.
Once again, we see those conveyancers with 10 years of experience or more (19%) are more frustrated by the increasing costs of working than their more junior professional peers. It’s no secret that the cost of insurance is a big pain point for conveyancers, particularly the cost of their personally identifiable information (PII). Whereas estate agents feel the frustration consistently throughout their careers, who have seen commissions gradually decrease down the years, in addition to lengthy transaction times creating cash flow issues.
Estate agents and conveyancers both feel overworked
“Feeling overworked and underpaid” is often a phrase we hear being thrown around, and particularly since the stamp duty holiday in 2021, housing market professionals had spoken about burnout and exhaustion during the time when the industry was unnaturally buoyant.
Feeling overworked came in third on the lists of frustrations estate agents and conveyancers have about their work. Albeit higher for conveyancers (16%) than estate agents (13%) a frustration about feeling overworked cannot be maintained for long periods of time. Something has to give eventually.
Referral fees - the frustration is real
Both professions acknowledge the negative effect of referral fees, particularly on their relationship with one another. When we asked the question ‘have referral fees had a negative impact on the relationship between conveyancers and estate agents?’, 59% of those estate agents and conveyancers surveyed agreed.
Unsurprisingly, conveyancers felt the most strongly about it, with 67% of those surveyed believing referral fees had harmed the relationship. Those having worked in the profession for more than 15 years feel the effect the most (75%). However, rather remarkably, 51% of the estate agents we surveyed recognise that the practice has damaged the relationship.
Different professions. Shared values.
While the list of frustrations doesn’t paint the best of pictures, it’s not all doom and gloom. Estate agents and conveyancers are brought together in more positive ways as well, namely what they enjoy most about their jobs.
The top most enjoyable aspect of the job for both estate agents (20%) and conveyancers (22%) was client satisfaction – happy clients really do mean happy professionals. And the client story doesn’t end there, as building long-term relationships with clients was the second most enjoyable element of the job for those estate agents (20%) and conveyancers (18%) surveyed.
Despite their shared frustrations, it’s reassuring to see that both estate agents and conveyancers continue to place the client at the heart of everything they do. After all, helping someone buy their dream home is a north star worth following.
Common solutions to shared problems?
Two sides of the same coin – these two seemingly very different professions have a lot more in common than you think. Hopefully, we could see common solutions found to help solve their shared frustrations to the benefit of everyone involved in the property transaction process.
Want to see what else estate agents and conveyancers had to say about their working relationships and the UK property market? Download the full results from our Working Better Together Report now.