Post COVID-19 property solutions

Under the current shutdown as a result of COVID-19, the South African property market has not been left unaffected. But looking to the future, property professionals including conveyancers, need to be prepared for how the marketplace will change. Under normal trading conditions, property clients expect regular updates on their transactions, with this expectation likely to increase in progressively competitive market conditions. Keen buyers and anxious sellers will both have a lot at stake following economic challenges, necessitating instant feedback on transactional progress.

“Sellers may need a quick sale, due to loss of income or other effects of the shutdown or COVID-19. They will require assurance that buyers are genuine and that in the event of a sale falling through, as a result of a home loan not being granted or for any other reason, they can respond swiftly, turn to back-up offers or put their property back on the market,” says Rudi Kruger, General Manager, Data Services at LexisNexis South Africa.

He goes on to add that buyers will want to track the transfer process every step of the way so that they can manage their investments, budgets and estimate occupation dates. “Status reports enable buyers to plan any repairs and renovations required before they move in, take out insurance cover on their new home or investment property or co-ordinate their relocation to minimise occupational rent, furniture removal or storage costs.”

Conveyancers will need to turn to products and services that keep them informed at each stage of the property transfer process, enabling higher outputs and faster turnaround times on property sales and registrations to facilitate the needs of both sellers and buyers.

“There has already been a fundamental shift of knowledge power resulting from clients’ increased access to technology and information – something that will be even more relevant with so many people now working remotely and having increased expectations on technology and service providers. In the past, using technology effectively to provide reliable, up-to-date information in a cost-effective manner may have been what differentiated market leaders from the rest. In the future, this will become a standard expectation of the man-in-the-street,” Kruger says.

Although the conveyancer and the Deeds office still lead the process, clients in the future can be expected to demand immediacy in terms of reporting. Real time tracking of processes and regular communication to clients are important aspects of relationship building. “Given that 60% of clients use family and friend referrals as their primary point of reference when selecting a legal representative, relationship building must be a top priority for today’s legal conveyancer,” he adds. “Building relationship can be prioritised and enhanced with speedy access to updates and information, keeping clients in the front row of what is happening.”

Conveyancers will need a platform that provides a comprehensive and trustworthy point of access to the relevant documentation required during the transfer process, including property reports, ID verification, automated valuations and street address conversion maps. Kruger says that ideally this platform should streamline the transfer of property through the Registrars, offering users the ability to update Title Deeds using OCR Text versions of Deeds Office Document Copies and track matters lodged at the Deeds Office using the Deeds Office Tracking System (DOTS).

For more information, visit: https://www.lexisnexis.co.za/lexiswindeed

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