Searches that are bound by the Search Code, protecting the seller, buyer and lender, are property and not client specific. As such, it doesn't matter who orders them but when they are ordered.
The market is currently at the brink of a conveyancing meltdown and many transactions will simply not make the stamp duty holiday deadline due to delays with searches and mortgage offers. Stress levels are rising, with many firms dealing with the frustrations of their numerous clients already.
Here at Property Searches Direct Ltd, we have been innovating and driving change to secure a better start for property transactions, taking a further step to enable all stakeholders to help where they can.
Collaboration between the conveyancer and their network of estate agent introducers can only be a good thing. It will not solve all the issues, but it will certainly ease the frustrations and reduce the finger pointing between the professions.
We don’t have a magic wand, but we are offering free platforms for both conveyancers and estate agents to work smarter together. The platforms are to be colour-branded to the conveyancer’s website theme to offer peace of mind and credibility. They are also dual- branded so they can be championed by the estate agent, supporting best practice for the future health of sales transactions.
This collaborative conveyancing solution enables agents to better prepare their clients for selling and equip them with the tools to gather pertinent information far earlier in the process, ideally at the instruction and marketing stage.
Sellers completing protocol forms as they go to the market and ordering the searches for their future buyer has to be a step in the right direction and should not remain a ‘dark art’ only to be performed by the conveyancer.
The idea appears simple enough and would be attractive to any conveyancer given that they could receive the protocol forms from prospective clients in their region before they are even under offer.
By delivering the searches ready to be sent out to the buyer’s conveyancer along with the contract, means all parties have more answers to questions than ever before. This should certainly enable transactions to get off to a quicker start than they previously might have done.
Property Searches Direct has been delivering searches direct to homemovers for some time, having identified the need for earlier ordering. We took the step to diversify the business model away from conveyancers so as to deal directly with homemovers.
On average, searches were being ordered some 6.5 weeks into the transaction by conveyancers, which was ludicrous, given that inevitable significant search delays would adversely impact upon transaction timescales.
We cannot get Searches back any quicker, but by bringing the order date forward by enabling homemovers to place the orders themselves, we can definitely ensure an earlier return.
The collaborative conveyancing solution’s pages consist of information for homebuyers and sellers, free access to protocol forms for completion by the seller, backlinks to the conveyancer’s website, backlinks to the estate agent’s website, access to our ‘free-to-use’ hazard checker to help determine which searches should be ordered for the transaction and access to our search shop, enabling clients to place search orders direct with us online. These can either be ordered by a buyer right at the start of the transaction, or the seller when going to the market.
We are advocates of getting more information upfront for property transactions and believe that this collaboration is a step in the right direction.
Encouraging vendors to buy the searches for their property sale will not only speed up transaction timescales but will also reduce their chances of the sale falling through given that the information contained in the searches can be addressed by their conveyancer during marketing.
We are genuinely looking to help conveyancers and estate agents to collaborate with each other to benefit their mutual clients and force age-old traditions of perceived job roles to change.
Sounds like a reasonable step to take. But will you take it?
*Daniel Hamilton-Charlton is Director at Property Searches Direct