Government representatives from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government have criticised the current conveyancing process due to completion times and seemingly poor levels of communication throughout the process.
The home buying process currently takes, on average, 19 weeks from acceptance to completion. Additionally, the cost of failed transactions, in part due to a lack of detailed communication, adds up to £270 million a year.
In a bid to fix the housing market and improve efficiency through clear communication, government representative Matt Prior believes that property logbooks could be the answer.
In this scenario, the owner will keep an up to date record of the property that would be passed onto the new owner to update. Providing this detailed information to a potential buyer up front could avoid failed transactions as the information that could dissuade a buyer would be found long before it reaches the conveyancing process.
Matt Prior, Representative of The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, said: “It’s not unreasonable’ to tell prospective buyers how many years are left on a lease and what the service charge is. It is ‘ridiculous’ that such information is not provided up front.
“My neighbour moved recently. They’ve got a brilliant stream in the garden. I thought “if it rains, will it flood the garden?” But they’re happy with it. If you know that up front you can make that decision. If it takes weeks for your conveyancer to discover that and you decide you don’t fancy the property being flooded, you will potentially pull out at a later stage.
“you go through the conveyancing process, you buy the house, you receive a perfect pack of information that describes the property at that moment – and you throw that away. We think that’s quite wasteful. Some of [the information] does not change.
“You’ve got a process where people are kind of misled. They don’t understand how long it’s going to take. People move somewhere between one and two times after they make their first home move. It’s a process consumers are pretty unfamiliar with. It should not take 19 weeks to buy a house. It should be possible to get a lot of data about the property up front.
“I don’t mind if the process lasts 19 weeks as long as people know it lasts 19 weeks, where you understand what’s going on in those 19 weeks. It’s where you’ve got whole periods where nothing seems to happen, or you get no information.”
Would a property logbook help to speed up the conveyancing process? Would the instant transparency help to save some of the millions lost in failed property transactions? Would this help to ease the burden placed on conveyancers?