It’s recently been reported that Estate Agents are renting out on AirBnB while waiting for sales, because the UK housing market is moving so slowly. It’s been estimated that it takes an average of 107.9 days to sell a property in West London and the quickest area, Manchester, still takes an average of 36 days.
Whilst a sluggish housing market cannot solely be attributed to regulatory requirements, it can’t be ignored that since the introduction of the anti-money laundering (AML) directive in June last year, Estate Agents have more checks to go through as part of the house buying / selling process. In fact, research that we commissioned in December 2017 showed that, on average, those surveyed estimated that the time taken to complete AML checks took over four business days per month, with one of the main barriers to completion being cited as getting hold of clients to verify their ID.
If you think about it, four working days per month is a long time to spend on AML checks, especially when there are solutions out there to help streamline this process. We estimate that if this part of the process was streamlined, it could save businesses an average of 313 hours per month,* giving you the time to get back to the more traditional aspects of the job such as organising viewings and marketing properties.
Since the introduction of the directive, the industry has had little support or guidance on how to implement the required checks and it is an extra administrative burden, but these new checks are here to stay and as a sector, we have to manage it.
We know that AML checks are not the only reason for a slowdown in the property market but turning to Airbnb as an alternative solution seems drastic when an estimated four business days could be saved each month by implementing a simple, quick and secure way of verifying a buyer and a seller’s identity.
By using real-time facial recognition technology, Credas allows clients to verify their ID via an app – as well as verifying the documentation, a liveness test will also confirm that the person at the other end of the app is the same person in the ID document, in a matter of minutes.
With GDPR also on our virtual doorstep, a secure environment for storing this data will also be required. With Credas, all files are then stored in a secure cloud environment, so all data is secure.
This isn’t a silver bullet for the market – we know that – but an estimated saving of four business days can’t be ignored. As well as time savings, there’s the reassurance that everything is saved in the right place and won’t be loitering around in an old filing cabinet, ready to trip you up on a spot-check.
*Credas’ One Poll survey results found, that on average 150 properties are listed each month. For every listing, the AML verification process is taking 2.25 hours. As a result, 338 hours are being spent each month on the AML process. Credas’ AML solution (when followed correctly and allowing time for the client to have their ID) takes 10 minutes end-to-end. So, when listing properties and using the Credas solution, 150 listings would take 1500 minutes which equates to 25 hours. 25 deducted from 338 represents a saving of 313 hours being saved per business each month. The majority of this time will be for the buyer/seller and not the agent, which represents an ever bigger efficiency.