The head of a firm that has been creating digital property log books for well over a decade says the house-moving industry should come together to promote the concept further.
Stuart Young, managing director of Etive, says recent attempts to speed up the average transaction time and reduce the number of fall-throughs mean the time has come to maximise the upfront information given to buyers, with log books the obvious solution.
He says that with people moving far less frequently than before - once every 25 years on average, compared to once every eight years three decades ago - even older buyers and sellers will have forgotten details of the process and paperwork involved.
“So, we have to find a better way to prepare the right documentation in order to help the industry professionals to do their job more efficiently and deliver the sale successfully for customers” explains Young in the Mortgage Finance Gazette.
He says the case for the log books hasn’t just been championed by organisations like the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, Conveyancing Association, the government’s Home Buying and Selling Group and the NAEA.
It has now even been backed by Dame Judith Hackett’s report following the Grenfell Tower fire where she said “creating a golden thread of information” about a property could be used to demonstrate the safety of a building throughout its life.
“So the need for Property Log Books is clear” claims Young, adding: “The challenge is to agree a national standard that works and then convince consumers that it is a requirement worth investing time and energy in, for a sale that may be decades away.”
He says that information in a log book could be split across different categories from title information, physical information on how the property was built and managed, through to warranties, certificates and guarantees.
“Combined, all this information starts to build a story of the property enabling relying parties, such as mortgage lenders and surveyors, to make quicker and more informed lending and valuation decisions” he believes.
This means, he claims, that no longer would a valuer have to make assumptions about the legal profile of a property and it would help speed up decisions on whether a property fits a lender’s profile.
“Combine this greater use of data and technology with the changes in open banking, then affordability assessments can also be made more quickly” he adds.
Young says the critical element is to ensure that the log book’s contents are relevant and applicable to everyone in the sales process.
It should include the full conveyancing pack; how the property was built, where available; any maintenance and improvement work with supporting documentation right down to the type of tile used in the kitchen” he says.
“Consumers are ready for the change given that they do their property searches online and so much more. So, the behaviour will feel natural, but it will need a concerted effort by the whole industry to initiate the process” Young concludes.