Upfront material information pilot slashes conveyancing time

A year-long pilot of using Upfront Material Information by residential conveyancers Thomas Legal and Conveyancing Data Services, part of tmgroup, shows transaction times reduced by up to 53 days.

The 12-month pilot in England, completed with a partnership of six estate agency offices, saw the time taken from heads of terms to exchange was reduced from the national average of 133 days to 80 days.

The results support similar findings north of the border, where the Scottish Home Report has already seen average property transactions now take four weeks less than in England and Wales, and fall-throughs reduce by 60%.

Richard Pickles, tmgroup’s sales director (residential) has been working with Thomas Legal on the pilot from the outset.

He said: “By providing information more transparently, earlier in the conveyancing process, and in a format acceptable to both sides, the pilot proves using Upfront Material Information could bring about the change bodies like the Home Buying and Selling Group have been urgently calling for. I am not at all surprised by the results.”

Simon David, chairman of Thomas Legal, added: “Obtaining search information at the point the property comes on the market already puts us up to four weeks ahead of the game. Critically, when a buyer is found, that search information can be supplied by CDS in the buyer’s name. This helped us overcome a huge potential stumbling block.

“Another potential issue, that of local authority searches expiring after six months and potentially before exchange, has also been avoided by CDS agreeing to refresh search details after six months at often little and sometimes zero additional cost. That was another huge tick.“



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  1. GreenBay

    Really? What having some basic, confirmed information before the house goes on the market means that the transaction happens quicker?

    I don’t believe it, this can’t possibly be true!!!!!!!

    HIPS anyone??

  2. Chris Arnold

    The quickest way to speed up the process is through collaboration and instant communication on platforms such as Wiggywam. Everyone in the same room sharing information and not relying on external sources.

  3. #ImpressiveConveyancing

    Nonsense. We already have upfront information, it’s called the contract pack. It comes in everytime.

    Ways to speed up conveyancing are:

    – ban conveyancing factories

    – ban referral fees to estate agents (including owning each other) – both cash and in kind. Literally no remuneration to be paid to an estate agent. Massive fines if breached. Massive. £100k per incident.

    – examine who is actually allowed to call themselves a conveyancer, as the quality of the individual conveyancer is the lowest in 25 years

    – no offer accepted on a property without a mortgage approved in principle

    1. Rob Hailstone

      “It comes in everytime.” Yes, sometimes week’s later than it should do, and is rarely complete.

    2. CountryLass

      I’m curious as to why no referral fees to local agents? Are you including  some wine and chocolates at Christmas, and being sent probate vals etc? Most Agents only refer good solicitors/FA’s/removals etc, so a little thank you in the form of £50 should be no issue. The massive conveyancing factories though, yes, I agree they are awful. I used to work for a corporate agency and to get through to our own conveyancers sometimes took 45 minutes on hold!

      1. aSalesAgent

        Because we can’t have nice things. Agents and law firms have got carried away with referral fees and the sacrifice has been quality of service and time reaching exchange of contracts. Knowledgeable conveyancers are not being retained, and new staff are no being trained adequately.

  4. GreenBay

    The contract Pack is great, but if the sellers still haven’t instructed a solicitor at the point of sale agreed, that contract Pack is not coming out anytime soon. Is the property a deceased estate and still in probate? Is there a planning issue that hasn’t been declared?

    The list is much longer than I can give, but believing that the clock starts ticking at the point that a contact pack is received is showing some misunderstanding of how sales are agreed, in my opinion.

  5. aSalesAgent

    Perhaps those sales went through in half the time because the lawyers and other stakeholders had a vested interest in them doing so? Marvellous what happens when lawyers are focused on getting a sale through.

    Are we looking at a median average? Any details on what percentage of these transactions involved chain free buyers and sellers?


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