Conference identifies potential improvements to help speed up transactions

The Conveyancing Association (CA) used its annual conference last week to outline a number of process improvements which it believes are either available already or imminent to help speed up the sale and purchase of property.

The conference featured a number of sessions which looked at process improvements the CA anticipates will make a significant difference for property market stakeholders, and also asked organisations such as HM Land Registry, the government, and the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) to outline their key projects which will hopefully also bring improvements.

Mike Harlow, deputy chief executive and deputy chief land registrar, outlined its launch of the Digital Registration Service and how applications can now be placed through this, while also detailing the introduction of both witnessed electronic signatures and Qualified Electronic Signatures, which will help cut down on the time required to secure a signature on documentation.

Matt Prior from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities revealed its current thinking around improving digitisation and digitalisation of the process, plus its ongoing work exploring the use of reservation agreements, and its support for the BASPI (Buying & Selling Property Information form) and Property Logbook.

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the CA and the CA representative at the HSBG, looked at the work of these two organisations and its key workstreams, plus how it will continue to encourage sellers to instruct a conveyancer/solicitor on day one of marketing, the progress towards ‘one source of truth’ digital ID in order to stop duplication across the process, its continued focus on upfront information via the BASPI, which is intended to collect all the information required by the buyer, mortgage broker, lender, valuer/surveyor and the conveyancer, and progress towards an industry pledge to secure moving out by 1pm on the day of completion.

Sally Holdway from Teale Legal outlined the work undertaken by the HBSG to ensure the provenance of the data collected by the BASPI is authenticated by a Property Data Trust Framework so stakeholders understand what they can rely on and the further due diligence which is required.

The Annual Conference also covered a number of important sessions.

Professor Stephen Mayson looked at next-generation regulation, or deregulation, of the legal profession, including whether the current regulatory system for conveyancing was fit for purpose, and how conveyancing firms might have to prepare for further change in order to maintain their prominent position within it.

Finally, the Conference offered a panel debate covering how member firms had supported their staff during the pandemic and lockdown periods, how they could ensure all staff were monitored to ensure their mental health was prioritised, and the range of support that was available to conveyancing firms including via Law Care and the ‘Be Kind We Care’ initiative.

Nicky Heathcote, non-executive chair of the CA, said: “Part of our focus with this year’s conference was to look at the initiatives, workstreams and progress that is being made right now in order to produce a much more efficient, and less stressful, home buying and selling process.

“To that end, we were delighted to welcome the government, HM Land Registry, the Home Buying and Selling Group and many other stakeholders, to set out the measures which are already making a real difference, and will do so in the months and years ahead. Digital ID, electronic signatures, upfront information via the BASPI are here and being used already, and they will grow in importance as more firms and stakeholders take them up.”


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  1. #ImpressiveConveyancing

    None of that delays deals.

    Instead, just one thing to action……..make sure any company or firm only employs skilled conveyancers so deals whizz through.

    1. PeeBee

      “make sure any company or firm only employs skilled conveyancers so deals whizz through.”

      A “skilled conveyancer” does not, in any way, shape or form, guarantee a faster result.

      1. janbyers

        True there is always a buffoon inn the chain

  2. tim main

    Alongside all these areas of improvements is the standardisation of the data fields required.  As the process moves to the digital age, rather than just the electronic stage, data sharing will make the whole process  so much easier, quicker and more transparent.  Agreeing the datasets is the big job.  tjhm


  3. PeeBee

    My first job was at a housebuilders, in 1979.  We gave buyers six weeks to exchange and this requirement was invariably met.  I left the New Homes sector and became an Estate Agent in 1992.  Sales were taking roughly eight to ten weeks from agreeing the deal to folks moving out/in.

    Someone please show me what ‘progress’ has been made since then, thanks to all the wonderful technological improvements that have allegedly been implemented?

    Progress is a wonderful thing, innit

    1. Charlie Lamdin

      Absolutely zero progress has been made. And zero progress continues to be made, even more, since “proptech” came along.

      It’s like trying to bolt turbochargers to a steam engine. It is the steam engine itself that must be replaced/revamped/renewed or somehow otherwise radically reformed.

      As a “proptech” (I hate that word so much) provider of 20+ years, I despair. I fear the change is going to be painful when it does come, which it inevitably will.

      1. PeeBee

         “It is the steam engine itself that must be replaced/revamped/renewed or somehow otherwise radically reformed.”

        Why? The “steam engine” actually worked (and still does).  Using ancient instruments such as telephones, fax machines, photocopiers, and outdated forms of delivery such as DX and, dare I say it – the Royal Mail – transactions happened at a rate of knots compared to now with all the electronic f***wittery (credit: Jonnie) that has been added to the mix to “revamp and radically reform” the conveyancing process over the last decade or so.

        The result?  It has gone backwards.  And not just a step or two.

        ‘Fixing it’ has broken it.


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