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By Jon Horton

Product Director, Mio


PropTech Today - Let’s get moving with digitising the upfront information agenda

Why the urgency? Because the appetite is strong. Research by the Conveyancing Association reports that 98% of consumers are overwhelmingly in favour of more upfront information – and nearly 50% of tm:tv attendees (May 2022) voted that upfront information would be the biggest game-changer in improving collaboration across the transaction.

We must digitise the delivery of upfront information to make the wholesale change to the process easy for everyone because the benefits have been proven by early adopters. It leads to more transparency, certainty, and more informed communication across the transaction. This should be welcome news to everyone involved because it will lead to fewer failed transactions and shave weeks off the time to exchange and completion.

Estate Agents are more readily able to convert potential buyers to proceedable buyers because consumers will be making informed decisions with all the facts in front of them and this will help to see a return to faster pipeline turnover.


Conveyancers should have early sight of any complexities which can help to reduce post valuation queries and it will foster greater collaboration through the delivery of digital technology solutions, without waiting on Government reform and legislation.

The great collaboration debate continues to roll on and doesn’t misunderstand me, that’s all very positive and changing the “narrative” around how we work across a property transaction needs to continue because there is a bigger educational piece, but it also needs action and momentum to succeed.

Right now, without seeking and waiting for legislative changes to the whole conveyancing process, providing material information for a buyer and creating change is at the centre of improving the property transaction process and it benefits every stakeholder involved. Those of you waiting for Government mandated or the “perfect solution” is an eye-rolling moment for me and feels like a bit of a cop-out if I’m honest. It’s up to us, the people and the professionals on the ground to implement and push forward some of the initiatives that are available now to create the momentum that will bring a sea change across the marketplace and to the current selling and buying process.

What are the benefits of the upfront (otherwise known as material) information agenda?

Let’s begin with the estate agent who I believe truly owns the customer journey end to end; after all they receive keys to manage viewings and handover keys to the new owner upon completion, so they are best placed to trigger the process of material information and indeed compelled to do so -from 1st June, under the new guidelines laid down by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) led by James Munro.

Firstly, let’s put that myth to rest that sellers and buyers don’t want information shared or transferred because they want to delay the sale and purchase. Yes, sometimes there will be genuine reasons why they might not be able to move as quickly as each other would like (relocation, schools etc) but that is helpful information itself to then manage timescales and expectations. Most people want to complete as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss.

Secondly, common law states that a seller must disclose any defects that they are aware of, so it’s not just a case of “buyer beware”. The current problem is that this disclosure on the part of the seller is not made until well into the process after a sale has been agreed, lawyers instructed and various documents have been received, completed and returned. That is precious time that can be saved by providing material information at the outset which could prevent a failed transaction later in the process.

Simon Wilkinson is an independent agent who operates 2 branches from Winslow in Buckinghamshire & Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire. He has been using the BASPI form derived from the Home Buying & Selling Group, to prove the benefits to his own business.

“We have been providing up front information over the last 3 years, for well over 1, 000 properties. Without question it has added transparency,  flagged up any issues very early on and then had them resolved. Thus, it has speeded up sales and made the firm and my staff more professional.”

This resonates with the findings from mio’s Home Movers Survey 2021 where 68% said that “trust in the agents’ ability to manage their sale” was ranked highest when choosing an Estate Agent.

Quite rightly, agents today continually worry about pipeline turnover…or lack of it because it’s a real financial worry for many of them who, traditionally would have turned a pipeline over 4 times per year. But in today’s market where the average transaction takes circa 22 weeks that’s more like 2.4! It begs the question that if you were to replay those transactions with the benefits of the provision of upfront data, would there be such a high volume of transactions stuck in the u-bend and would we see a drop in the national average fall through rate of circa 30%!?

I asked Beth Rudolf from the Conveyancing Association to explain the difference between BASPI & part A, B, C of National Trading Standards guidelines and to give her views on taking active steps right now.

“Given the delays to the delivery of legislation at the moment, Mr Gove may be relying on Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations to get upfront information off the ground as soon as possible as it is clear from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) white paper and the FutureGov report, that DLUHC want to see the work undertaken by the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) delivered, and quickly.

This will be through NTSELAT who are setting out for the industry what the material information is, starting with the things that apply to every property, for example location, tenure and the affordability for a potential buyer based on Council Tax, ground rents and service charges, however by the time they deliver phase C it will need to identify everything which would be material to the average consumer and that is what the HBSG have already identified and included in the BASPI (Buyers & Sellers Property Information) dataset. 

Whereas legislation might take many, many years, NTSELAT could deliver all three phases and the guidance behind it with 18 months, and of course coming down the line will be the fines, where estate agents do not deliver the material information, in future.  Conveyancers absolutely need to get behind this now to be able to check that the information that a buyer has based their offer on is correct.  The Property Data Trust Framework ensures that the provenance of the data is authenticated so conveyancers know what they can trust and what they need to check.

If the laggards do not deliver on this then the government are clear that they will legislate, and don’t forget, the HIPS regulations are still on the statute book so could easily be updated in secondary legislation to require that a seller or their agent has to deliver a summary of the material information at the point of listing.  The consumers want it, the industry knows it will work, so why wait?”

Reference is made to the Property Data Trust Framework which is another sub-working group of the HBSG chaired by Maria Harris. If we are to work with and rely on one source of truth, then the way in which that data is sourced and shared is vitally important and Paul Albone from tmgroup is contributing his experience in this area.

The time is now!

Paul Albone – CTO tmgroup

There appears to be a renewed energy in the industry at the moment which is nurturing a collaborative approach to information sharing and this is going to be a fundamental pillar to the success of the upfront information agenda.  Visible data provenance, and the trust associated with it, is key to a wide audience acceptance of this information as it gets transferred across the transaction from Homemover and Estate Agent to the Conveyancer.  The working parties within HBSG are so important for the success and adoption of data standards in achieving this aim and the effort being expended by the Property Data Trust Framework Group is setting the cornerstones for others to build upon.  It reminds me of the work I did helping form the PISCES data standards back in the early 2000s.  It’s an exciting time, and about time I hear you cry!

Historically part of the problem is that the information is siloed and what we are moving towards is the unlocking and sharing of data based upon a recognised data standard being created by the work in Maria’s group that will allow interoperable systems leading to efficiencies throughout the process for all stakeholders.

Simon won’t have to wait too long for his digital solution either, since property technology suppliers such as tmgroup are developing services that make it very easy for agents to follow the latest guidelines whether they’re taking A, B, C baby steps or taking full advantage of the BASPI form.

Information is knowledge and knowledge builds trust with your sellers and buyers and conveyancers, and this will lead to fewer failed transactions and a better experience for everyone.

*Jon Horton is product director at Mio

  • Rob Hailstone

    We need to get agents, sellers and conveyancers all working together on day one (listing). Not waiting until an offer has been made and accepted.


    Yes a vendor will put a house on the market - can not be sure that that they will get a buyer at the price they think is what they want to achieve - so will pay up front.
    It is human nature to delay paying any bill until. they have to.

  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    If anyone truly wants to give progress a go, get in touch. Easy access to the BASPI and great marketing and market appraisal solutions, along with the best gift you could give a home mover for free. Just Google PSD Logbooks

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    "marketing and market appraisal solutions"

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    "marketing and market appraisal solutions"
    When I need a valuation I expect agents to come and look at the house

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    Music to our ears. Much of this can be done today in a PIP Vault or other products. All available for estate agents to try and test. The agents who want to make this happen can do so now. Clearly it is coming.

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Lots of soundbites - many the same as two decades ago. Fortunately AI, ML and the explosion of cloud computing almost 20 years ago will solve all, whilst the various factions and gatekeepers and politicians whirl around going nowhere.

    Hint - the client of 2022 is a digital native, they hate forms, pieces of paper, pdf's, things that arrive via royal mail.

    They love waiving their smartphone at 'things' which allows them a seamless gateway to enjoy services and goods.

    For the love of God build a property framework where the 'lazy' generation, the 65% of the globe under 39 years of age can tap their way quickly to destination buy or rent, in seconds not 28 weeks.

    Just look at banking, pre the Fintech revolution everyone said it was madness thinking we could ever digitally do banking, too high a security risk, etc, now banking is digital.

    Give it ten years there will be no more paper in the property industry, it will have evolved. And the plan, construct, sell, lease and asset management verticals will all be more efficient, faster and fit for purpose.

    Why does Cazoo exist, because the visionary founder of Zoopla Alex Chesterman realised buying second hand cars was a royal pain, frought with silly processes and delays, why not just deliver cars in great condition to buyers who can choose what they want - simple (well the back end is actually very complicated) but the NEED prompted the solution a multi billion pound vale solution.

    With buying and selling - there are three parts the legals, the finance and the selling operation, so more moving parts than second hand car sales, but if the 'whole' industry actually wanted to - it could re-imagine the whole thing.

    Dharmesh Mistry

    Cars have logbooks, properties do not today... but they will do soon. All the information once digitised will need to be stored somewhere. However a "drop box" for digital files (as opposed to data) has limited purpose / use once a property is sold. This is where Digital Home Assistants takeover as they make data actionable for the buyer, for example providing reminders on policies or warranties expiry, helping with budgeting / finance, and so much more...


    You seen the performance of Cazoo shares over the past 6 months? Not exactly a vote of confidence for the solution to a problem you say exists.

  • Rob Hailstone

    "It is human nature to delay paying any bill until. they have to." Even less that £100.00, that might make the difference between selling and/or buying the properties they want to? Remember the three Ps. P*** poor preparation, makes for a p*** poor performance.

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    “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics"

    Bit of a non-article really. As we all know statistics can be used to prove anything when all the facts are not revealed.
    What were the actual questions asked?
    What was the size and demographic of the study group?

    Without all that information we the readers cannot draw any logical conclusions from this article. Just another press release .

    Whilst in theory the idea of upfront information may be a good one, those of us who work in conveyancing day-in, day-out know there are any number of reasons why this is a non-starter. There are far more serious issues in conveyancing which need to be addressed and corrected first if the system is ever to work better and clients are to receive a better service.

  • Rob Hailstone

    From a day-in day-out conveyancer Alan: "We do all of this free of charge. A properly prepared report (what a home information pack should have been), is of genuine assistance in getting a proper pack of documents ready for when a buyer comes along. I have always found that the quicker a sale goes, the more likely it is to exchange. This seems to me to be such an obvious thing to do, that it is a bit of a mystery why agents/conveyancers have, for years, been so reluctant to take it up."

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    The day-in, day-out conveyancer would not be you though would it Rob? I note you have just quoted one example again which is expected to prove the whole scenario?

    Good conveyancers like myself never experience many of the problems which I read about on social media. It seems to me we are trying to put processes in place to cater for the lowest common denominators in our profession, rather than attempt to put right all the serious issues which exist. This is a potential sticking plaster for a gaping wound.

  • Rob Hailstone

    30 years a coal face conveyancer myself, nearly three years a HIP provider (making them as exchange ready as you could get), and over 10 years running the BLG. 650 conveyancing firms and over 5000 individual conveyancers. I don’t pick up information from ‘social media’, I get it direct from the front line, every single day from my members. This is not about a sticking plaster but simply getting the process started earlier on. If we can do that at least, other issues can then be dealt with in due course.

    If only everyone one was like you Alan, modest and damn near perfect: “Good conveyancers like myself never experience many of the problems which I read about on social media.” I am not engaging with you in yet another pointless war of words.

    Enjoy the Platinum weekend (and that goes to all EAT readers), like I intend to do.

  • Rob Hailstone

    In fact Alan, if you would like a free seat at the BLG conference on the 28th June in London, please email me, via the contact details on the Bold Legal Group website.

    • Referral Fees
    • Material Information
    • Leasehold changes
    • Lenders and climate change
    • Managing risk
    • Conveyancers and estate Agents, in sync at last!
    • and much more, plus an evening soirée

    If anyone else would also like to attend (EAT editor and agents more than welcome), please let me know.


    I cannot think of anything worse than spending my evening with agents and conveyancing clerks - both low skilled jobs


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