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Conveyancers are piloting HIPs-style 'Digital Home Reports'

The Conveyancing Association says some of its members are piloting HIPs-style Digital Home Reports in a bid to reduce fall-throughs and make house moves less stressful.

In its initial response to the government’s call for evidence on how to make the house moving process simpler and faster, the CA says it has met with the Department of Communities and Local Government ahead of the call.

In addition, CA chairman Eddie Goldsmith says the conveyancing industry “is at a pivotal point in its history” and reveals that several pilot projects have been undertaken by different members in recent months.

“These include our Digital Home Report which will provide a comprehensive collection of information upfront to the potential purchaser, a reservation agreement which will be legally binding and tackles the issue of aborted transactions and gazumping, and our Completion Code which enables completion money to be sent the day before completion, creating certainty in terms of the time of move and reducing wasted resources when it comes to completion delays” he says.

He says the results of the pilot will be presented to the government in the CA’s response to the call for evidence.

Meanwhile more agents and agency bodies have responded to the weekend announcement by the government.

Geoff White, RICS’ interim head of UK external affairs, says all agents should be signed up to a professional regulatory scheme, which will ensure buyers receive the best possible advice in an accessible way that maximises value for money.

“In Scotland, we have seen the value of the home report, which includes a survey of the property, an energy report and a property questionnaire, for both buyers and sellers and we would hope this review explores the benefits of introducing the home report across the UK. Certainly, RICS will be reinforcing these views when responding to the government’s call for evidence” he adds.

Online estate agency eMoov has criticised an element of the government’s announcement which appeared to threaten referral fees, questioning whether estate agents should be able to earn money from introducing conveyancing and mortgage services.

“Referral fees are a perfectly legitimate aspect of the property selling process and are already regulated by the Estate Agents Act and via the Property Ombudsman to ensure nothing illegal transpires between agent and broker” says eMoov chief executive Russell Quirk.

He says the implementation of such a ban would result in “a monumental decline” in revenues within corporate estate agency, as the likes of Countrywide, Connells, LSL and Foxtons base their business model around the commission made via these referrals.

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