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Time is right for digital property logbook to modernise homebuying process – Conveyancing Association

  • 19/10/2018
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Time is right for digital property logbook to modernise homebuying process – Conveyancing Association
The Conveyancing Association (CA) believes digital property logbooks could be an efficient way to speed up and ease homebuying without being as cumbersome as Home Information Packs (HIPs).


The idea was backed by the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA), which suggested it should be started with new build properties, while the Residential Property Surveyors Association also applauded it.

Speaking at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum seminar, The future for the home buying process, CA director of delivery Beth Rudolf suggested this could create a modern conveyancing process.

“We could develop some upfront provision of information and put it into a property log book,” she said.

“[We could] put search data in there, title, rights, reservations, restriction, basic survey information, the seller’s data and leasehold details.”

However, the key to this would be retaining this data for future use, Rudolph explained.

“The worst thing is once we collect all this information, the transaction is completed and the seller moves in, the information is then scattered to the four winds and next time property is sold we go through same arduous process again,” she said.

“So once we’ve got all that data, why waste it? Let’s authenticate it, store it digitally and then it’s there ready for the next move.

“Then the current experience will become much more positive, we will have informed buyers, accessible information, less time wasted and better communication.

“And we’ll have mortgage ready properties so all those post-valuation queries will just melt away,” she added.


HIPs ahead of their time

Rudolph admitted this was inspired by the much-maligned HIPs but argued it would was no possible to improve on these and offer a much more slimmed down version.

“HIPs were ahead of their time in thinking, but unfortunately the technology just wouldn’t allow it,” she said.

“Most buyers will only want to know if there is a dispute or something unusual. So by making it into a digestible format that can be distributed that’s a whole different kettle of fish to a 100-200 page file.”

She added that it would be a simple process to include a clause in the contracts that the buyer would refund the seller for the cost of the searches on exchange of contracts.


New builds lack information

Home Owners Alliance founder and chief executive Paula Higgins gave the idea her approval and suggested new build would be the perfect starting point.

“New homes is a real opportunity, buyers should have this basic information, but the lack of information is very apparent there,” she said.

“A buyer of a new home doesn’t get floor plans, they don’t find out where the pipes are and so on.

“It’s a real opportunity – we don’t need to over-think it, it makes sense. There could be apps with the digital footprint and you pass that over to the new owner,” she added.

Residential Property Surveyors Association chairman Alan Milstein said it would be possible for surveyors to develop a product to fit such requirements.


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