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2023 – and the year of the digital?

We are now well into 2023 and, while there have been a huge number of steps taken towards a digital future for the property market in recent years, it feels like this year will be the one where we make significant strides that are going to change our sector forever. All stakeholders need to be prepared for this.

Last year, Land Registry launched its Digital Strategy and it was as clear a sign-post as any that digital conveyancing is not only coming, but we are getting closer and closer to a process which is far more digitised than ever before.

This of course, falls in with a whole variety of digital-based and digital-delivered processes and information that should not only speed up the home buying and selling process, but also give far greater certainty to everyone involved, and as a result, cut down on the (still) huge number of fall-throughs we see every year, and which cost so much in wasted money and resources.


Now, you might be thinking that we’ve had such strategies before and they may not have been as ‘sticky’ as they or us would have liked.

Transaction times

In the past we have seen five-year strategic plans referencing to go digital/machine readable and create notional digital registers but this time they have already started the process through the delivery of the Digital Registration Service which is really encouraging in an industry where we need to be able to deliver digitally for the consumer and other stakeholders.

As noted above, this would help enormously in reducing the waste of the extended transaction times and fall through rates and enable the consumer to understand the implications of the title on their intended use and enjoyment to reduce claims and therefore PII premiums.

Ideally, we would like to see them deliver their data to the Property Data Trust Framework standard. In case you’re not aware, the PDTF has been set up to create the common language, data, and technology standards needed by our industry and those custodians of data who are going to make upfront information on properties available and sharable in a digital format.

Duplicate information

If Land Registry are able to share their meta data with the PDTF, it means we can authenticate its provenance and work to the Home Buying & Selling Group’s (HBSG) standard API Format and RICS Data Standards to make their data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) and save all the stakeholders, including estate agents, in the home moving process having to duplicate information and tasks.

In December last year, the HBSG Technology Group released the first public version of its property data and technology schemas, and these are being implemented into various systems. The more involvement and take-up we get, the more likely we will get the benefits for all.

By automating and digitising registrations, Land Registry will undoubtedly reduce requisitions and therefore free up their staff and conveyancers to do the more complex work. 

All this ties in with the new Digital Conveyancing Charter we are working towards launching, which will cover digital ID, the digital registration service, digital signatures and digital interoperable updates. It will mean, in the main, that all stakeholders are singing from the same hymn sheet, that we don’t have to duplicate the same tasks across different industries, and that we can rely on the data as the one source of truth required to move the process forward quickly.

We will all be aware of how ‘digital’ has changed our lives in terms of other services and products we use, not least in an area such as banking, which will also benefit our sector in terms of Open Banking services, for example, helping agents/mortgage advisers, etc. access the true details of a client’s finances, while also supporting us as we seek to meet AML rules and regulations.

There is a lot to comprehend and a lot going on, but the direction of travel is undoubtedly digital, and in our view, this will help us deliver a much more efficient, less time-consuming, less duplication heavy, process that ultimately benefits us and (most of all) the consumer who, quite frankly, continues to be startled and dismayed that our sector isn’t already working in the ways I’ve outlined above. Time to embrace digital and deliver the benefits for all.

Beth Rudolf is Director of Delivery at the Conveyancing Association (CA)

  • Nigel Walley

    Great piece - thank you Beth! One thing to add - a question for agents and conveyancers: are you ready for clients who are digitally enabled?

    Are you able to receive data from clients who have a digital Property Logbook or other Upfront Information product? If not, why not? Speak to your CRM provider!


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