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Conveyancer wants sellers to agree pre-viewing property info questionnaire

A conveyancing expert is calling for 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.

“They [conveyancers] cannot even issue a contract to the buyer’s conveyancer until that is returned. ... What if every seller was made to complete this documentation prior to any viewings?” he asks.


Singh describes the move as a “no-brainer” and says it is preferable to the possible return of Home Information Packs, mooted recently by leading Conservative Michael Gove during discussion on a Tory manifesto pledge to reform and speed up the house buying process.

The Conservatives have since back-tracked on Gove’s comments and Singh urges any further temptation to resuscitate HIPs should be resisted.

“That is not to say some of the fundamentals that underpinned HIPs were not correct or worth pursuing” he says, adding: “[but] HIPs contained searches that had to be paid for, that might not have been acceptable to some conveyancers or lenders, and that could be out of date by the time a sale was agreed. What is more, if I was buying a car from you, I want my mechanic, not yours, to report on it. The same is true of valuations and surveys.”

Singh says the Conveyancing Association’s recent call to simplify and speed up the process is the right approach but that some quick wins were possible in the meantime - with a pre-viewing completion of the property information questionnaire being the most obvious, he believes.

  • Peter Ambrose

    It's a nice idea - and if only Harpal was actually doing the work, rather than just acting as an introducer, then maybe it would have a little more credibility. If Harpal actually dealt with clients directly then he would have a better understanding of consumer behaviour and the inherent problems behind making the forms completion process more efficient.

    As the first company to use electronic signatures on protocol forms, we have a very good understanding of the issues involved and Harpal's rather simplistic plea rather misses the mark.

    As someone actually on the front line as opposed to an Armchair General panel manager , we're happy to give more credible feedback.


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    “They [conveyancers] cannot even issue a contract to the buyer’s conveyancer until that is returned."
    This is total rubbish and misleading. Of course contracts can, and often are, be issued before the information forms have been completed. Contract and title documents are prepared and sent to the buyer's conveyancer with the information forms sent on when they have been completed by the seller.
    However it is certainly preferable to have a seller complete the information forms as soon as the conveyancer is instructed to save time for when a buyer is found

  • Rob Hailstone

    Get the seller to instruct their conveyancer, before a buyer has been found!

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    Our clients have the option to fill out the paperwork pre-sale and this saves about 2 - 3 weeks on the speed of completion as the paperwork is all prepared and can be sent very quickly, however this is not the case with the high street solicitor, currently vendor sols will not allow paperwork to be filled in until sale has been agreed and we have had dealings recently where the buyers solicitor will not even look at the file until mortgage offer has been received,. How stupid is that !!!! the whole process needs to be looked at but HIPs are not the way, having worked in the industry for a number of years the whole process seems to be getting worse, when we had the the economic bust law firms had to make people redundant and had to run on skeleton staff to enable them to stay profitable and in business, law firms are still worried and are reluctant to employ additional qualified solicitors therefor the "Fee Earner" has double or triple the work load they should have making the whole process painfully slow.

  • Beth Rudolf

    So where does Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations fit in? The NAEA CPR forms and the Law Society forms have 51 questions which are the same so how about just getting the seller to complete the whole Law Society form as part of the CPR obligation prior to marketing and have done with it? Do we need to put the poor home mover through the hassle of completing all these questions twice and run the risk that they might answer differently on each form?

  • Rob Hailstone

    Part of the problem is Karl, conveyancing is stressful, not well paid and rarely appreciated. If my kids wanted to become a conveyancer I would chain them up and lock them in the garage.

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    I respect Mr Ambrose’s view but perhaps it is he that misses the mark. Yes this may appear as a simplistic view on the surface (not the entire MS article btw) but ask every estate agent in the land and they will tell you how long it takes to get a contract out. Rob, your comment about 'instructing a conveyancer before a buyer is found' is spot on, and a solution I not only welcome but actively promote. By doing so clients can, and are happy to complete property information via their conveyancer in the knowledge that a useful contract can be issued as soon as a buyer is found. I would guess that Karl is at the coalface too and his experiences are very real…….and dare I say usual.

    I understand the opinion that some ‘armchair panel managers’ are too far from the coal face, but this one has the privilege of working closely with a dozen or so of the largest volume conveyancers in the country, several hundred independent estate agents and a few thousand mortgage brokers. We constantly discuss the consumer journey as well as the challenges for conveyancers and other stakeholders. Go ahead and disagree with me but my armchair sits in front of a pin sharp HD widescreen with glorious technicolour and a great view from a very ‘credible’ perspective. Feel free to come and have a look.

    Our ongoing experience shows that by engaging the vendor in the conveyancing process and documentation early, it stops them from (unintentionally) holding things up by a couple of weeks.

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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 searches, property information questionnaire (PIQ) 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! Coincidently we would also control the PIQ and laborious paperwork process as we would speaking with sellers to arrange the surveys on their premises and collecting paperwork at the same time.

    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


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