Coronavirus: how bad will things get in the light of it?

Having worked in Conveyancing through the 2008 recession, Natalie Moore, founder and director at Aconveyancing gives her insight into how the industry can prepare for the worst in light of Coronavirus.

Coronavirus: how bad will things get in the light of it?

Natalie Moore – Founder and director of Aconveyancing

Whether you believe Coronavirus is no more serious than the common cold, or a global emergency, we’re told the virus is here to stay.  In just 14 days, we’ve witnessed catastrophic effects on the global economy with the London Stock Exchange recently plunging to 2008 financial crash levels.

It’s taken over a decade for the housing market to come close to recovery from the recession in 2008.  Many Conveyancing firms closed, went into administration or merged with other firms.  A huge amount of redundancies left large volumes of qualified and experienced lawyers changing careers – which the industry now recognises and is encouraging new training programmes through government funding, which many firms are relying on to support growth.

Every part of the housing industry felt the pressure. As the rental market grew, increasing rental costs pinched the lowest income tenants. Many people couldn’t obtain mortgages, property couldn’t be financed and as a result, developers went bust across the UK.

In 2008 my career was at risk, my firm went into administration, wages were cut and unpaid.  Nothing prepared me for the how badly recession damaged our industry, we just weren’t equipped for the full and long-term effects of a huge economic downturn.

Today, larger firms that survived through mergers now have the resource and infrastructure to deal with such threats.  My concern is that smaller firms and new start-ups who have focused on embracing technology and value client care and communication, are much more vulnerable.

Now, as a business owner myself and with the benefit of hindsight, here are the lessons I learnt and the steps I’ll be putting in place to protect my business and staff from the worst:
  • Even mentioning the word ‘recession’ makes homebuyers nervous: Because we know from experience that homebuyers become incredibly nervous at times like this, we aim to conduct business as normal – simply going the extra mile to keep all lines of communication open with clients that need extra reassurance. This industry can be impersonal, with most communication now conducted via email.  We work really hard to offer our clients personal support, whether that be on the phone or face to face and at times like this, it’s always appreciated.
  • Reassuring staff goes a long way in retaining the best talent: We know that many businesses are starting to worry about staff members self-isolating along with young children, which may potentially get worse over the next few weeks if (as predicted) schools will close. We’re a very flexible team at the best of times but I’ll be reassuring staff that the company is here to support them regardless of any situation out of their control. Everyone has a laptop and we have a secure email system enabling staff members to log-in from anywhere.  Meaning if they have to care for kids at home, their job is secure.
  • Now is the time to check insurance policies: The Government has today announced it will cover sick pay costs for small to medium businesses and I’ll be closely following any further announcements on this. As well as Government support, now is also the time for business owners to check the detail in what their insurance policies cover.   Knowing exactly what you’re covered for will help prepare you for any worst-case scenario situations.

With major concerns surrounding the spread of Coronavirus in the UK, it is clear that it could potentially have huge ramifications for the Conveyancing industry.   Keeping clients and staff secure is the number 1 priority for me right now as a business owner facing another financial crisis.

Whether you think this will blow-over or lead to global pandemic, one thing is for sure, if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.


Kindly shared by Aconveyancing