Blockchain Used To Create End To End Home Buying Journey

The HBSG Discussion Paper: What’s going on, the need and our solution

In 2023, the Home Buying and Selling Council (HBSG) launched its first ever ‘Discussion Paper’ on how to improve the home buying and selling process now and in the future and to gather the thoughts and ideas from those at the coal face, as to what will work and what the unintended consequences might be.

The aim is to help home movers and, as a result, the entire home moving industry from estate agent, mortgage adviser, lender, conveyancer, solicitor through to removal company, to adopt changes that will reduce the time it takes to move home and the level of fall throughs that blight our market.

Every year, a third of all transactions never make it to completion, because of a variety of factors, not least because crucial information, vital to a potential buyer’s decision, often only comes to light after they have made an offer, it has been accepted, and they have used money, time and resource to move the purchase along. Not only does this result in a huge amount of wasted effort and cost for those that wanted to make the purchase, but it also costs all those stakeholders who will have spent their time and money, working towards making this purchase happen.

As we know, most of those who work in the home moving industry, only get paid when the sale/purchase completes, meaning that a third of all the cases they are working on, never actually make them any money. This has been the case for far too long, however the good news is that – with the support and help of Government, consumers, the media and the home-buying industry itself – we have a number of solutions available that can change this, delivering far greater certainty and transparency into the process, and ensuring the time it takes to be able to exchange contracts is cut significantly.

Currently the average time from marketing a property to completion is over four months. Clearly, during that length of time, there are all manner of things that can change, and we know the longer the process goes on, the more chance it has of falling through, resulting in all the stress, frustration, and wasted money and cost outlined above.

This HBSG Discussion Paper not only offered solutions for immediate change that can be delivered within a short space of time, but it also looks to the future. We know technological shifts, updates and new solutions, will influence our home buying and selling process, and we therefore must not only work on a better way to do this today, but outline what could be achieved in the future.

The Conveyancing Association Digital Conveyancing Protocol looks at the ways and means by which conveyancing firms can benefit from the range of digital services currently available, and includes recommendations to make the most of the technological solutions both now and in the future.

Due to the impact of greater AML requirements, the complexity of title and many of the issues arising for lenders after the financial crisis, there is no one silver bullet but small changes can make a big difference.

A key area is utilising upfront information (UFI) at the very start of the process and reviewing it to identify the Material Information relevant to the property so that estate agents can comply with the Regulations and provide the (MI) on advertising the property.  To do this the title and documents referred to in the title, the searches and the property information is collected and reviewed.

Having this available to those interested would-be purchasers so they have full clarity on what they are putting an offer on, and ensuring this information can be considered at the outset, rather than having to wait to a point when they are already emotionally and financially invested.

Having UFI available reduces liability for the conveyancer, reduces turnaround times, cuts fall-throughs and reduces dis-instructions. It will ensure the conveyancer is always acting in the best interests of the client, and will ultimately help them to have happy customers, who will recommend and refer their services to others.

Conveyancers also need to work out their service for helping their network of estate agents in identifying the MI relevant to the property and acting in the best interest of their seller client by identifying solutions to any issues with the Title. If the estate agent and conveyancer – as authority figures to the consumer – are asking for monies on account to prepare the MI there will be no pushback, just as there is no pushback from buyers currently when asked for search fees on account.

Other solutions for a speedier process include instructing conveyancers on day one of the listing of a property, which gets the whole process moving straight away. At the moment, instruction can come weeks later and, given the time it can take to secure searches or leasehold information, that can of course mean even lengthier delays. The Paper also includes recommendations for property logbooks for each and every property which would be available digitally and include a raft of useful information for purchasers and the stakeholders they use, property packs which can help provide the upfront information in a digestible format, along with changes the Government will need to make, such as regulating agents and mandating upfront information.

Many of these solutions, and the changes suggested, have come from the legal profession, and from liaising with those involved in the process.

The Select Committee for DLUHC are gathering evidence at the moment on improving the home moving process.  This will not set policy but being cross party it will give all parties the opportunity to see what could be included in their manifestos.

It is a huge opportunity to influence the changes we so desperately want and need from the next government.

2 Responses

  1. It doesn’t usually take 4 months in my firm or indeed in firms like mine.
    We don’t over rely on technology, we didn’t replace experienced conveyancers with technology plus some who can use a keyboard, we don’t send Standard Enquiries.
    4 months plus is as a direct result of over reliance on technology, the employment of people who aren’t conveyancers and the greed of some estate stand brokers who send clients to these factories for a bag of coin.

  2. Data solutions have been over-accepted because of the overabundance of tech providers in the conveyancing space with massive budgets to market, often funded by equity providers. Quite obviously, data solutions assist in handling data and have contributed in many ways to smoothing some aspects of conveyancing by scratching data. Similar to the good old days of copying and pasting. The information would have been validated beforehand by the professional researcher, at least.
    Somehow, recipients’ mindsets have switched belief systems. Sadly, many, and panels are the largest contributors in this respect; the mindset accepts scratched data as up-to-date and relevant. This is not the case. As a result, both inaccurate and out-of-date data are added to the property’s portfolio.
    Too many alleged “tech solutions” are causing concern in two areas. In the first case, inexperienced conveyancers are accepting the data as being “refined,” thereby just letting it stay as received. In fairness, that is not entirely true. Some experienced conveyancers are falling into the same pit by accepting data as it stands.
    In the second case, other conveyancers accept the data for what it really is – unrefined data – and proceed to take longer than necessary to refine it. The conveyancing price, all too often fixed, does not cover the additional work necessary, and some can be very time-consuming.
    So far, much of the “up-front” information has merely scratched data, which is unrefined. I am not sure this is really what the property sector needs.
    Care is required before accepting many of the prescribed solutions. Fraud is rife because of “tech”; inaccuracies and queries are largely on the increase, too. It would also appear that the panelled style or factory solution championed by many is creating stacks and, therefore, delaying the whole process. Many are aware of HMLR’s serious issues with the backlog of registrations and queries. Have we broken the two-year barrier yet? That is yet another data solution that has caused challenges. Too many experienced people have been removed from the process

    I should add that data solutions and ‘tech’ have simplified much of my work. However, I am selective.

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