A new service, Property Information Packs, is to roll out nationwide within the next three months, aiming at speeding up conveyancing and reducing fall-throughs.
Auction data supplier Essential Information Group is helping develop the new tool, which lets estate agents selling by private treaty provide ‘auction style’ information packs.
Reminiscent in name at least of Home Information Packs, the new service has been trialled with agents in Shropshire.
Property Information Packs is run by former Savills and Balfours agent Tim Main, a chartered surveyor, with EIG providing the technical side of the business.
Main said the PIP service should speed up transactions and he has experience as he exchanged on his own property sale using the website within three weeks despite both the buyer and conveyancer taking a week-long holiday during that period.
It draws on EIG’s experience of hosting legal documents that prospective bidders can access to view more information on a sales lot prior to auction.
Each agent using the service would have their own ‘document room’ and on instruction the vendor would have to complete an automated property information form and the fixtures and fittings document.
Other documents would be uploaded by conveyancers during the process and the idea is that potential buyers can view all the relevant information, including that which could cause issues later such as boundaries or leasehold terms, before making an offer.
Notifications can be sent so that vendors and conveyancers know when new information is needed or has been added.
Agents will also be able to see how many potential buyers have viewed the information.
It is free to agents to upload properties, with a charge of £25 on exchange.
David Sandeman, founder of the EIG, said: “In auctions a catalogue can come out and a property sold under the hammer 20 days later, and we are trying to replicate that.
“The slowness of conveyancing is what can cause transactions to not go ahead.
“Our plan is that the moment you give the agent the instruction to sell, the vendor and agent start working together to get the legal pack sorted.
“Currently, most don’t start getting the legal side into shape until they have an offer.
“It is better to do it before the event rather than after, so fewer surprises come out of the woodwork at the end of the conveyancing process.”
The similar-sounding Home Information Packs, which had been compulsory in England and Wales, were ditched by the Government in 2010.
The new PIPs are in line with current government proposals that more information should be provided by vendors up-front. A body called the Home Buying and Selling Group is suggesting that a document covering 12 key areas should be prepared before marketing, and made available to prospective purchasers, with a summary of it on agents’ listings.