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Young former estate agent to disrupt traditional conveyancing referrals system

Alex Beagrie, 24, says his experience working in estate agency taught him that the way consumers are referred to conveyancers needs updating.

Nigel Lewis


A 24-year-old former estate agent has claimed that industry referral fees earned from conveyancing based on a narrow and cosy list of approved ‘panel’ suppliers will soon be ancient history.

Alex Beagrie, who worked in estate agency in Surrey prior to setting up his proptech conveyancing platform ExchangeTrain.co.uk, says he founded the business after realising that the system which enables agents to earn fees from conveyancing is fundamentally unfair to consumers.

Talking to The Negotiator, he says that Trading Standards’ efforts to force agent to be more transparent about the fees they earn from referring third-party services to client could be a game changer for platforms like his.

Agent recommendations

“Sales agents earn fees on the basic premise that most buyers are either first timers or move so infrequently that they need a recommendation about the best conveyancer,” he says.

“This has served the industry well for decades but home movers are now more digitally savvy and are looking for online support to help them, and clearly the regulatory authorities are waking up to that.”

Beagrie says that although his business is still only a few weeks old, he’s had thousands of enquiries from home movers looking for an independent conveyancing recommendation.

“I have an estate agency background but I’m not a conveyancer, nevertheless I’ve realised that there is an opportunity for a service that offers home movers more choice while still enabling agents to earn income from referrals,” he says.

ExchangeTrain.co.uk is currently consumer focussed, but Beagrie says he wants it to appeal to agents by offering an alternative way to continue earning fee opportunities, while at the same time opening up the market to a wider range of conveyancers.

Read more about referral fees.

October 22, 2020

One comment

  1. My thoughts are that any business needs income to survive, I wish Alex well, but unless he is going to run a non-profit enterprise he will need to charge someone an amount, the moment this occurs he will be in the same nexus that all companies belong to. From my thirty years of being an agent, ensuring an exchange is key as this is typically the largest fee element of the transaction. So agents will naturally recommend conveyancers who enhance this journey, and make an exchange more likely.

    If they receive a fee or not, the vital component is that the agent has positive connection with the driver of the sale post the sale being agreed, the person who transfers the title from vendor to buyer.

    A comparison site for the general public to see what is the ‘best deal’, is always going to be subjective, is it measured by the cost of conveyancing? the level of service? As Alex is stating he wants agents to still have a fee for referring conveyancers, am I to assume at some point his business will be seeking a fee from either agents or solicitors to promote them, in which case we are back at square one.

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