How can we encourage closer collaboration between estate agents and solicitors?
01 September 2016 1811 Views
With an anticipated “Call for Evidence” from the Dept of Business Innovation & Skills looking into the home-buying experience ETSOS is calling on agents to share their thoughts on how the process could be improved.
One idea of particular interest relates to the sharing of documentation by estate agents with solicitors; a concept we have seen before with Home Information Packs. Despite the connotations associated with HIPs there is a consensus that in general the concept had potential but was poorly executed. Clearly no government would be keen to engage in any HIP-like fiasco but a pared down version with relevant information could be valuable.
Regulation has seen duplication of effort by estate agents and solicitors. Both parties undertake Client Due Diligence (CDD) in line with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. And even though it might not always feel like it; both parties have a vested interest in a speedy resolution to the transaction.
Sharing paper documentation such as driving license/passport/bills presents a challenge both in terms of physically sharing the documentation (copies need to be retained by both parties) and also from a data protection point of view. Outsourced checks present no such issues; think about your credit and tenant checks undertaken on behalf of landlords, provided you have the client’s permission. Similarly electronic checks undertaken as part of your Client Due Diligence can be shared with the solicitor.
In addition, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 presents a further opportunity to collaborate. CPRs require more information be presented up front to better enable buyers to make informed decisions. This in turn can be shared with solicitors to make a start on the sellers pack. Many conveyancing transactions fall into a lull once an offer has been accepted as the relevant information is collated before being sent over to the buyer’s solicitors. This is often the point at which the transaction falls through as something is revealed that the buyer doesn’t like, or it simply takes too long.
The “Call for Evidence” will investigate a number of potential avenues including gazumping, contractual obligations at the point an offer is accepted etc; it makes sense then to also look at the potential for information to be shared more openly between agents and solicitors.
Compliance in a Box is the industry recognised compliance solution for Estate and Lettings Agents developed with industry stakeholders including the NAEA and adopted by Relocation Agent Network, The Guild of Property Professionals and Fine & Country. The suite provides access to expert training, regular industry updates and our Compliance Hotline in addition to Compliance Packs; with the option to share this information with your solicitor. For more information contact Samantha Peacock (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) on 01524 220013
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