Conveyancing Industry News 
You can lead the proverbial horse to water – but how on earth do you make it drink? 
Especially when the legal profession just isn’t thirsty for improvements to the consumer experience. Implementing the MHCLG’s and the CMA’s plans for more transparent pricing, performance data, standard metrics, kite marks and quality standards hasn’t in my view, gone well. 
 
The evidence to date is that mandation on price transparency has encouraged either bare minimum compliance (with little improvement of the consumer experience) or given the lack of effective enforcement, in many cases no action whatsoever. 
 
Efforts to introduce new comparable metrics haven’t yet broken through to the market (including my own) so there aren’t any new operational standards to act as a benchmark for consumers and at the same time kite marks and quality standards haven’t shed their historical baggage. 
Sure, we’re evolving – everyone and everything evolves, doesn’t it? Sometimes the pace is slow other times it feels faster. In a Darwinian sense, there are winners and losers at each turn as we respond to changes in our environment, but who holds the real levers of change in the property market? 
 
Generally, we all have a sense that the pace of change is on a strong upward curve. We can point to examples where generic technological advances have improved processes, where communication has been made easier and faster, where new data has improved understanding but can we really say (for better or worse) that the industry has broken free of the structural shackles that have shaped it over the last 50 years? 
 
I think the emergence of Rightmove and the portal industry is the one genuine example of how the industry has been transformed in my working life. In all other respects, I see improvements to processes that are still shaped and constrained by fundamental structural barriers. 
 
The chronology of a transaction is unchanged (except for the honourable exception of the insertion of the new portal community). The legal framework is unchanged. We still have chains. We still have caveat emptor. A purchase remains the single biggest financial transaction in most people’s lives. Members of the public remain blissfully ignorant of the process. 
Predictions for the future of the search industry 
 
Clients will continue to behave cautiously and be ever-hungry for data 
The complex home buying and selling process looks ugly from the outside but its Darwinian evolution is beautifully aligned to balance the rules, relationships and constraints that have shaped it – and which continue to shape it. Without changes to these levers, the equilibrium won't change radically. 
 
The principal, immutable lever is the importance of the transaction to the client. Buying or selling property will remain up there amongst the most important transactions we as individuals ever make. 
 
These high stakes coupled with clients' typical lack of expertise and their natural self-serving motivations mean clients will behave cautiously and tactically. They will be ever-hungry for data that better informs or gives them a competitive advantage. 
Savvy clients could become search providers’ new customers – instead of conveyancers 
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