Lean for the Property Sector

Jun 10, 2021

Hello readers,

We know that Lean methodology can bring benefits to a diverse range of sectors, having ourselves leveraged the methodology and our experience to deliver some of that positive change, from the legal sector through to that of education. In fact, call us biased, but, although the roots of Lean are in manufacturing, we believe that every sector can benefit from its application.

This week we are focusing on the potential benefits of Lean to the real estate sector, and that is very apt given where the sector is right now. As you may have seen, in much of the world and particularly the UK, the sector is booming. With the pandemic having caused much rupture to commuting lifestyles with the advent of widespread work from home, and much reflection as to whether people really have the quality and quantity of space they want after months inside, compounded in turn by the stamp duty suspension for property values up to £500,000 – saving movers up to £15,000 – there has been unprecedented demand. With the rush for the original March stamp duty deadline displaced by a rush for the new deadline in the summer, in that month alone there were 191,000 home sales, which is the highest in a single month since July 2004, and with this intense demand has come an intense pressure on the services that make possible these transactions, with, in addition to estate agencies themselves, demand for conveyancing, surveys and searches having the potential to delay the whole transaction by up to five months.

This is where a methodology like Lean can lighten the load. A first step would be to develop a process map, outlining all the key conveyancing processes including of course initial stages of offer agreement and instruction of solicitors, as well as pre-contract checks, exchange of contracts and finally completion. What you can do then is start identifying wastes and the first thing to say is that some of these may be unavoidable given the realities of waiting for chains to complete, but the waste in the interaction of stakeholders for example could be minimised with the adoption of Lean – for example, adoption of systems which eliminate the need for multiple contracts to be printed and sent around, and, in the above context of offers coming in before the agent has had a chance of adding details, overprocessing of ultimately dead-end enquiries could be minimised by ensuring only full adverts are uploaded and therefore those for whom the property is not appropriate can select themselves out of the process.

These are just simple examples and given the complexity here it would certainly warrant fully mapping out in the kind of rapid improvement event we have delivered for clients across various sectors, including most pertinently the real estate arm of a law firm.

If you are interested in Lean for your property business, get in touch at [email protected] and give yourself the edge in this competitive, hot market.