Conveyancers have backed a call by the Conservatives for reform of the house buying process - and says more up-front information during a transaction would benefit everyone.
Political momentum has been building for reform in recent days, since the Tories said a commitment to “reform and modernise the home-buying process” with a view to making it quicker and cheaper would be a priority if they won the June 8 General Election.
Former Tory minister Michael Gove has hinted this could mean the return of something like the old Home Information Pack, although the Conservative party itself has suggested this may not happen given the unpopularity of the Labour-created HIPs a decade ago.
But now the Conveyancing Association says it welcomes the Tories putting the debate in the political arena and says a 19th century conveyancing process is not fit for 21st century customers.
The association says it recognises the lack of appetite to bring back HIPs in their previous guise, but stresses that it is committed to delivering “a Digital-Home Report which would include a comprehensive collection of information, available to prospective purchasers at the point the property is marketed.”
The association says it is also keen to see the introduction of binding offers allowing home movers to have certainty that the deal to purchase is binding within a week.
“This would be similar to the reservation agreements already in place for the purchase of new-build property and would involve an affordable deposit being put down by the purchaser, with the potential for an insurance policy to be taken out by the seller so that if they withdraw, the purchaser’s expenses are covered” says a statement from the association.
It believes a binding offer is achievable providing there is the ability to offer up-front information to the purchaser and they can secure a binding decision-in-principle on the mortgage.
The Conveynacing Association also says it is working on other improvements to the process including enhanced ID verification, completion certainty, local search data, and the establishment of a secure portal for the conveyancing process that would incorporate a ‘Property Log Book’ for each individual property.
“It is not acceptable in this digital era that clients have to deal with a conveyancing process which is non-digital, paper-based and keeps them in the dark throughout on the progress of the other parties in the transaction” says Eddie Goldsmith, chairman of the Conveyancing Association.
“The technology is clearly there to provide an end-to-end digital conveyancing service and to deliver greater certainty via the provision of upfront information, and the use of binding mortgage decisions-in-principle and binding offers on property.”
Yesterday we reported that a conveyancing expert wanted sellers to complete and return their property information questionnaire to their conveyancer before there have even been viewings of the home they wish to sell.
Harpal Singh, managing director of Broker Conveyancing, writes on the Mortgage Strategy website that it takes a seller an average of 10 days or more to complete and return their property information questionnaire to their conveyancer. This could extend to two weeks if you include postage and processing time.