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Owners’ Logbooks essential for easier house-buying, say conveyancers

Logbooks about properties must be made available up-front at the point of marketing and not later in the buying process if conveyancing and house purchase are to become more efficient and effective. 

That’s the view of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, meeting today in London; the organisation has issued a White Paper - Conveyancing 2030: A Discussion Paper - on taking conveyancing into the digital age. 

“Technology will radically improve transparency for consumers about what they are buying and the progress of their transaction. Because of the Internet of Things, properties will maintain up-to-date logbooks with little human intervention” it predicts. 


The document stresses how central data will become, delivering a ‘single source of truth’ on a property. It asks how to ensure all parties can trust the data: “Who will validate the information and who becomes responsible if that data is incorrect or something goes wrong?”

Chair of the CLC Dame Janet Paraskeva says: “With so much work going on to improve and reform the process, we think now is the right time to take a wider view on what this all means in the long term and how we can ensure that the home buying and selling process works best for consumers, service providers and ultimately the UK economy. 

“We do not claim to have all the answers but with change coming it is vital that we as a regulator and the community we regulate are thinking about how we make sure we are ready for what future developments may bring. I hope this report will fuel a discussion across the property industry and that conveyancers themselves will grasp the opportunity to shape their future.”

The paper traces how the conveyancing process has and will continue to change, and highlights a range of questions that everyone involved – regulators, lawyers, estate agents, lenders, technologists and others – will have to grapple with to ensure that consumers benefit from it.

The document also claims that key questions for the industry include whether government should mandate the move to electronic conveyancing, rather than wait for incremental change, whether the law firm model will need to evolve to survive, and the extent to which regulators might need to regulate technology in addition to lawyers.

Poll: Owners' Logbooks - they would help in the sales process


  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    A comprehensive property DNA pack is long overdue to front load a property, ensuring that from point of sale onward exchange can occur more quickly. But, with 18 weeks being the usual time frame for a sale, to get over the line, despite all the tech in the sector – something is not going right.

    Many in the property sector are scrambling for answers from Land registry and digital street and hackathons and shared perspectives.

    But as Taylor Wessing legal luminaries in the digital field, both in the adoption of tech and embracing proptech firms, stated yesterday, exchanges are governed by the slowest component in the chain.

    Solicitors are risk averse, so tech is a slow go for many legal firms, which means, great have more information on property as in the PIP initiative, but if you have a conveyancing practice who is not tech ready, then you are in for a long haul.

    Piecemeal solutions are helpful, but the antiquated property sector it is a bit like a poor relative of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The model is not good, so more and more data is fed in and bit by painful bit until the digital ‘brain’ recognises it must change its approach to achieve the required outcome.

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    If it would, to any degree, we'd have been doing it years ago.

    But cute to hear non practising conveyancers comment on what would help practising conveyancers speed up from offer to exchange.

    It takes lawyers two weeks to send a legal pack on average. So upfront would at least save two weeks? No, it wouldn't.

    Conveyancers would then find an excuse to keep to that same 2 weeks - probably getting ID (as electronic is risky as it does not combat impersonation) signed TOBs, money on account....

    Lots of well intended people with ideas, lots of profiteering parasites too, but don't overlook - most do - that title deed investigation, implications of disclosures in the Property Information Form, search result entries all take a legal mind. Get any of that legal bit wrong, and you might be sat surrounded by the latest IT gear, but you then are sat with a negligence claim whilst crying into your fancy latest IT gear.

    Nothing will replace the human legal mind that is needed.

    But what would improve the speed of home moving is just that - improving the legal mind of the actual conveyancer. But no one is looking at that. There is no profit in that. So slow mediocre ill-trained conveyancers keep holding up deals into months. But hey, we might get fancy portals, reservation agreements, upfront information - but still with chains laced with mediocre conveyancers holding it back.

    (And in the UK, please stop talking about AI...China will get AI first , but we'll be decades behind, isn't that right Alexa "sorry, I don’t know that one")


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