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Conveyancers back Tories' call to modernise house buying process

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.

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    The EAT news articles are ticking all the boxes this morning...... so much so I not sure which to comment on first ;-)

    I've previously intimated that our product that we will be launching in the market (anticipated July 17) will hopefull write all the worlds wrongs...... we'll perhaps that's a little ambitious! But from industry engagement and feedback what we are planning to deliver will shave a MINIMUM of 3 weeks off the sales process as all of the searchs, property information questionnaire and several hours of conveyance will be completed at the point of marketing! And all at NO upfront cost or more expensive than the traditional methods!

    I understand the the politicians and conveyances are constantly berating the word HIP and the potential of bringing this back by stating that NO Estate Agents want to see them back in......... couldn't be further from the truth and if this is your opinion then honestly you live under a rock which is conveniently located Ina bubble! That said we are not planning on re-introducing the HIP just a highly evolved and polished legal pack to, as suggested, bring the process in to today's world!

    If you would like any additional information please find me on Linked in Gareth Clarke

    Rob Hailstone

    Gareth, as a matter of interest, what industry feedback? If legal, missed it.

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    Zzzzzzzz......when will conveyancers and solicitors wake up to the fact that the majority of delays and fall throughs stem from a lack of interest or engagement from them! The ONLY way to improve the conveyancing system is to make the legal profession stakeholders in the process by introducing no-sale no-fee charging. That will crystallize their mind and drag them off the golf course on a Friday afternoon, the most critical time for exchanging contracts, and dragging them back into the office after lunch at a sensible time. Closing for lunch for an hour! Turning the phone off and going home at 5pm! Do me a favour.......welcome to the 1950's.

  • Rob Hailstone

    OMG Andrew, what century are you in? None of the conveyancers I know, 2000 plus, spend Friday afternoons on the golf course. Most are underpaid and overworked. I get many contacting me when they are working early, late, weekends and bank holidays.

    Your comments are like me saying all agents wear shiny suits, white socks and know nothing about the conveyancing process, as if!

  • Nick Small

    Pali Ltd. I am with Rob on this. Our system is web based for ordering searches, carrying out anti money laundering checks etc and conveyancers can use it 24-7. From this we see conveyancers placing order at mad hours such as 2am Sundays. Saturday afternoons and the busiest period of all is Friday afternoon as they frantically try to complete for the week end so their client can move in. As Gareth points out the dozy vendors never get the blame.

  • Mike  Stainsby

    Property 'Log Books' or 'Passports' in conjunction with unique property reference numbers will provide a really useful receptacle for sellers to store all of the pertinent information needed to transfer ownership of the property. If each property that went to the market had these and sellers took responsibility for ordering their own Searches the market would be much simpler and transactions would be quicker with less fall throughs.

  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Solicitors and conveyancers that we work with are working 7 days a week. The only break many had was for Christmas. Any agent that believes that a conveyancer is a slacker working 9-5 Monday to Friday is so unbelievably out of touch with the reality and likely spend most of their time ignoring what is really going on and will never look to help out to improve the status quo.
    You may not be able to get them on the phone in the evenings and that is only because they need to get the work done that they have been distracted from all day by agents calling and questioning them about what they are doing.


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