In The Spotlight with Sam Kirk, eConveyancer

We spoke to Sam Kirk, head of sales at eConveyancer, about his new role with the firm, why relationships with brokers are so crucial, and how greater transparency and communication can help ease house purchase pressures.

Related topics:  Finance News,  In The Spotlight
Rozi Jones
22nd April 2022
Sam Kirk eConveyancer
"While the pandemic has helped open a few eyes to better ways of working, there is still lots more progress needed before we have a truly satisfying housebuying process."

FR: You are a new addition to the eConveyancer team, what have been your initial impressions of the business?

It’s been really exciting to see how motivated and driven everyone is about improving the process of buying a home. It’s not exactly a secret that for most people, buying or selling a property is an incredibly frustrating and stressful experience. Most of the time you have absolutely no idea what’s going on, or what needs to happen next for your purchase to go through, which is ridiculous really.

We are already making real progress on correcting that, introducing the technology that opens up better lines of communication among everyone involved in a deal, and we have big, ambitious plans on how to take this further.

There is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to how the mortgage market utilises technology, and while the pandemic has helped open a few eyes to better ways of working, there is still lots more progress needed before we have a truly satisfying housebuying process.

FR: What do you see as eConveyancer’s key opportunities for 2022?

Having great technology that puts homebuyers in a more informed position is great, but it only works if those moving home are in a position to make use of it.

That’s why the relationships that eConveyancer has with brokers are so crucial. Brokers are the first port of call for the vast majority of people buying a property in the UK, and with good reason. A mortgage is the largest sum of money most of us are ever going to borrow, so it makes sense to tap into the expertise and support of a quality mortgage broker.

Yet brokers do far more than simply identify a cheap rate, and can help their clients not only arrange additional products they might need - like protection - but also pinpoint the best legal partners for their transaction.

We know from the brokers we already work with that being able to provide a wide panel of conveyancers, all with experience in different areas of the market, has proven invaluable during a particularly challenging time with activity levels so high. It has demonstrated how crucial it is for brokers to think carefully about the firms they partner with - after all, when things go well, it’s the brokers that get the credit!

FR: Fraud has been a big issue in the property market in recent years. What can a conveyancing panel management business do to protect everyone involved in a transaction?

Again, this is an area where technology can make an enormous difference. Our DigitalMove platform brings together all of the different stakeholders in a transaction, with the idea of providing far more transparency over what’s going on in an individual case. Not only does it keep the customers informed over the progress of their purchase or sale, but it also cuts out some of those delays that can cause a transaction to drag on or even fall through.

The DigitalMove platform also provides a key role in the fight against fraud, as it cuts out some of the pressure points that can be exploited by mortgage fraudsters.

For example, it includes a sophisticated ID verification system that brings together document scanning technology and face matching, alongside a secure messaging service. Scammers can’t insert themselves into an email chain and dupe victims into sending money to the wrong account, if there is no email chain, with the communication instead taking place through secure messages.

FR: The shortage of housing in certain areas of the country is putting huge pressure on housing chains. How can a business like eConveyancer support brokers and their customers?

The lack of transparency and communication involved in a housing purchase can put chains under pressure and even lead to deals falling through, and that’s an area we are determined to improve at eConveyancer.

The DigitalMove platform makes a tangible difference here. We know that customers who use the platform complete their transactions more quickly, while the added transparency means that everyone is kept in the loop about precisely how a case is progressing.

Alongside DigitalMove, we task all of our conveyancing partners with providing prompt and regular case updates to customers. This is another way of keeping customers feeling informed and reduces stress and confusion about what’s going on with their deal.

There will be cases where some additional assistance is required in order to keep things moving, which is why we have a customer experience team, account management team, BDMs and national account managers all on hand to step in and escalate cases where necessary.

FR: If you could read one headline about the mortgage market in 2022, what would it be?

As something of a tech geek, if I read that all stages of the home buying process had been moved on to the blockchain I would be a very happy man.

That may be asking a lot though, so until then reading of another record breaking year for the broker community will do me just fine.

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