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Land Registry’s proposed digital platform cuts out mortgage advice

  • 18/12/2017
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Land Registry’s proposed digital platform cuts out mortgage advice
In a bid to speed up the UK home buying process, HM Land Registry (HMLR) has proposed an ‘Instant Mortgage’ consumer portal giving consumers a single website for the whole property transaction.

The proof of concept is one of three designed to speed up and simplify the home buying process and would provide an instant mortgage lending decision.

“Following our commitment to digitise and publish as many datasets as possible, we worked on the proof of concepts project with the scenario of HMLR property data (and other useful datasets used throughout the conveyancing process) being digitised,” said an HMLR spokesperson.

“Our user research and two-day hackathon showed us that for an instant mortgage to take place, all the data about a person and a property would need to be available to the lender instantly,” she continued.

“This could enable the due diligence to be done straight away.”

HMLR was not available to comment on how the advice element would be provided.


Robo-advice without the advice

However, Eddie Goldsmith (pictured), chairman of the Conveyancing Association, said the HMLR project presents “considerable challenges” to advisers.

“The Land Registry model seemed to have mortgages, products, and lenders presented directly to the consumer via this platform, with seemingly no advice option,” said Goldsmith.

He continued: “This looked like a form of ‘robo advice without the advice’ with the programme working off the individuals’ financial details – via Open Banking – and then presenting product choices based on their financials.”

Goldsmith said that the ‘Instant Mortgage’ concept is similar to a sourcing system, and one can understand the allure of this direct-to-consumer product from bank’s point of view – not least because it’d cut down procuration fees.

But Goldsmith also highlighted potential pitfalls of the concept.

“But one might question at what point any advice was being given, who is responsible for the presentation of such products, and what recourse consumers might have if they end up making the wrong product choice,” he said.


Big leaps

Goldsmith also mentioned another of HMLR’s conceptual tools – the ‘Property Adviser’ which will offer property information.

“Given that its ‘Property Adviser’ proof of concept could be construed as taking away much of the conveyancer’s current role, one might wonder how such propositions are likely to impact on other stakeholders’ role in the property and mortgage processes,” commented Goldsmith.

“There are some big leaps being made here and, without industry feedback, one can see some large, long-term consequences,” Goldsmith continued.

The HMLR spokesperson added: “The proof of concepts are not real services but an idea of what the future of conveyancing could look like, enabled by data being made more accessible and available earlier on in the process.

“We are reviewing our findings with a view to implementing further stages of research and development in 2018, including testing the proof of concepts with more users.”

HMLR is planning to list all properties online by 2030 as part of its ‘Digital Street’ project.


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