Estate agents should provide a secure sales process during the second national lockdown, according to Gazeal.

The digital platform believes that the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have made transactions more fragile.

Gazeal points to the tightening of coronavirus restrictions, which will lead to further economic uncertainty, as being a key factor in the need for increased security from estate agents.

Mortgage expert believes stamp duty extension would alleviate pressure

As a result of the restrictions, consumer confidence is likely to be affected, which could lead to buyers or sellers pulling out of transactions at short notice.

In addition, with the looming stamp duty holiday conclusion, Gazeal believes that some movers may doubt whether their transaction will complete in time, and therefore could pull out of a deal.

Bryan Mansell, co-founder of Gazeal, said: “Unfortunately, fall-throughs are part of the property market, but estate agents can reduce their frequency by focusing on secure sales.

“The risk of fall-throughs has been higher than usual this year and these pressures are likely to continue well into 2021.

“Agents can substantially reduce their fall-through rate by encouraging sellers to provide upfront information and carry out checks early in the process so key issues can be identified and subsequently rectified sooner.”

Mansell said that by giving buyers and sellers the option to enter into a reservation agreement, this could increase security, confidence and transparency through commitment.

Furthermore, Gazeal points to the furlough scheme extension, which if conveyancing and local authority staff are furloughed, could result in further delays with homemovers trying to secure deals before the stamp duty deadline.

Mansell explained: “The impact of under-resourced teams of conveyancers and local authority staff could make things more difficult for agents. If transactions are delayed, consumers will want answers and solutions from their agent.

“Although agents cannot do anything about under-resourcing due to the furlough scheme, there are certain parts of the process which they can control to speed things up and increase security for buyers and sellers.

“Good communication and an emphasis on getting sellers to provide upfront information are two key aspects of the process which agents can focus on to have a positive impact on reducing delays.”