How can the conveyancing sector better support the overall wellness of conveyancers?

SearchFlow has written a blog article that looks at how the conveyancing sector can better support the overall wellness of conveyancers.

How can the conveyancing sector better support the overall wellness of conveyancers?

Recently, a strong area of focus has been on wellness, including mental wellbeing. The reality is that conveyancers still have increasing pressures upon them, one of which is the ever-expanding nature of the role.

In this article, we will take a look at the increasing demands on conveyancers, how it can affect wellness, and how the industry can better support conveyancers.

The expanding role of the conveyancer:

As many conveyancers will attest, they are now being asked to do tasks they may not feel fully equipped or trained to deal with properly, for example, environmental and climate change matters.

Elizabeth Jarvis, Managing Director of SearchFlow, says that the role of conveyancers is expanding into this area:

“If you look at the different subjects that are now impacting upon conveyancers that were never there before.

“You’ve got climate change, you’ve got net zero, you’ve got all of these other things that conveyancers are now involved in.

“And if it wasn’t bad enough, I now need to think about when and at what point do I start to engage in climate change reports? How is this going to affect my customer? Am I going to provide something which ultimately is going to cause a devaluation in the property because I’m highlighting a consideration that wasn’t disclosed in the past?”

Having to delve into areas which are not a core area of competence may be a cause for concern and worry.

Alastair Waters, Pre-Sales Technical Delivery Director at SearchFlow, explains there is a problem of “scope creep” within the profession:

“What is the role of conveyancers? And what’s the remit of their expertise?

“Conveyancers aren’t environmentalists, for example.

“They’re very much focused around the law and focused around the practicalities of helping sellers and buyers move home… then it starts to impinge upon the fundamental basics of the role.

“We should be asking conveyancers to do the conveyancing, not to do everything.

“We need other professionals to support conveyancers to do their relevant bits.”

The suggestion here is that more needs to be done by the industry to prevent uncontrolled scope creep that will undermine the core purpose of conveyancers, damage confidence in the sector, and, ultimately, lead conveyancers to feel frustrated and more stressed in their roles.

How the industry can support conveyancers:

The conveyancing industry needs to do more to protect the role of conveyancers and provide them with the support they need. There are a number of ways this can be achieved.

One way is to make it a requirement to introduce clients to other professionals, where appropriate, who can better assist with explaining certain risks rather than expecting conveyancers to provide an opinion.

Alastair Waters says:

“I don’t think we should be putting pressure on our conveyancers to be the ‘go to’ for everything.

“We need to introduce other professionals who can help us understand the risk.

“I think the role of the conveyancer is as a coordinator to ensure that the home buyer and home-seller knows that they can rely on other professionals to help them answer those questions.”

Taking this approach will take the pressure off conveyancers because clients will receive information and guidance from experts (such as in the field of climate change and the environment).

Part of the solution may be reviewing how conveyancers charge, given the increased level of service being provided.

This is a point that Alastair Waters also agrees with:

“We need to consider whether the fee pressure on conveyancers mirrors the amount of work they are expected to do and the volume of communication they have with stakeholders.

“We have a society and perhaps other professionals who want conveyancers to keep their prices down, and yet we have an expectation that service increases when prices come down.”

Going forward, the industry may also need to do more to balance the expectations of other stakeholders (e.g. buyers, sellers, and estate agents) when it comes to conveyancing.

Conveyancing is more than just a check-box exercise; it requires considerable skill, judgement, and understanding to ensure that all legal aspects of property transactions are managed properly.

Final words:

In 2024, we all need to take some time to reappraise what mental health, wellness and ‘healthy’ means for conveyancers. The impacts of the pandemic, home working, increasing time pressures and scope creep on conveyancer mental health should be discussed and better understood.

If we get the balance of scope, price, technology, and expectation correct, conveyancers may start to feel as though they have the space to perform their core role to the best of their ability. In turn, this can only have a positive effect on the wellness of conveyancers.


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