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Conveyancing Association offers range of house purchase process solutions in White Paper PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 November 2016
The Conveyancing Association (CA), the leading trade body for the conveyancing industry, has today published its White Paper on ‘Modernising the Home Moving Process’ in which it outlines how a future, more certain and transparent process could operate. 

The Paper is a comprehensive look at the UK’s current home moving process incorporating the results of the CA’s own research, its consultations with a variety of stakeholders across the industry both in the UK and abroad, and a look at the solutions employed in other jurisdictions around the world in order to identify current constraints in the UK and potential solutions.

From gathering this evidence and following discussions of potential solutions, the CA is able to postulate what the future might hold in terms of its vision for a data-sharing, collaborative, digital home moving service. However, the CA is quick to point out that more fundamental actions need to be taken now to enable such a vision of the future.

The White Paper focuses particularly on the benefits to be gained from creating greater certainty far earlier in the home moving process. It suggests a number of ways in which this can be achieved including:

· Centralising the identity verification of the parties to reduce the risk of fraud and money laundering.
· Collating the Property Information and Title Information on the marketing of a property.
· Requiring a legal commitment on offer to reduce transaction failures.
· Requiring completion monies to be sent through the day before completion.
· Amending the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 to resolve the unreasonable cost and delay now associated with the leasehold sales process.
· Providing a reliable lending decision-in-principle based on a ‘hard’ credit report without impacting on the applicant’s credit score.
· Reviewing the CML Handbook to remove anomalies and ambiguous entries which generate post-valuation enquiries.

The CA also posits the idea of providing a secure portal for all communication between every single stakeholder in the home moving process – this would help protect the conveyancer, estate agent, mortgage adviser, lender and home mover from the threat of fraud and redirection of client funds.

At the heart of the CA’s contemplation of the future is the delivery of a ‘home mover’s online portal’ which takes the consumer through the whole process and presents a technology-driven solution that encompasses, and can be accessed by, all stakeholders delivering all services and driving the process with clear information on progress, notifications and actions to be completed.

The online portal would cover off (amongst others) all necessary forms, client identification, mortgage details, searches, co-ordination of dates, plus it would keep track of all requirements and ensure each stakeholder can update and amend quickly and effectively in order to achieve the completion end goal.

The CA will be discussing its White Paper, the solutions it offers, and how the home moving process can be improved for all, with stakeholders at its ‘Modernising Conveyancing’ conference which takes place on Thursday 1st December at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea. A representative from each of the top 200 conveyancing firms in the UK are able to attend free of charge.

Eddie Goldsmith, Chairman of The Conveyancing Association and Partner at Goldsmith Williams, said: “Working within this industry, I believe we’re all aware that at present we do not have a home moving process which is fit for purpose. Since the beginning of the recovery of the property market, conveyancing times have steadily increased from eight weeks – from offer to completion – up to the latest estimate, which places transaction times at 13 weeks. For leasehold transactions the length of time is often greater. It is against this backdrop that the CA decided to embark on a project to identify why these delays occur, how the process works in other countries, and by undertaking research and talking to as many stakeholders as possible, to identify potential solutions which can get us to a far better place for all concerned.

“In doing this, we haven’t set specific parameters on the type of new process we want to see. We freely admit there is a huge ambition to much of the White Paper, particularly around the need for greater digitisation and a joined-up technology hub through which all aspects of the process are accessed. However, there are also a number of potential ‘quick win’ solutions identified within the Paper which, with the right head wind, could be achieved. We recognise this is not going to be delivered overnight however neither are these flights of fancy that haven’t been achieved ever before. The solutions we propose are readily being used in other jurisdictions and it is our belief that by working together we can help deliver them into the process here, providing significant benefits.”

Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at The Conveyancing Association and author of the White Paper, said: “In carrying out the research for this White Paper, it became obvious that we should not be constrained in terms of our ultimate ‘wish list’ for the home moving process. It may make some of our suggested solutions seems like fantasy however we can see the evidence from other countries that by working together, these can be delivered. To be able to remove delays from the process, changes need to occur across the industry to remove the constraints and deliver the certainty which home movers need to enjoy a positive moving experience.

“We set out 12 key steps to remove the constraints, many of which could be delivered very quickly. From there, our vision of how the future looks recognises that the industry needs access to a consistent level of digitised conveyancing, enabling the delivery of data packets and the interrogation of data, plus the need to create the beginnings of artificial intelligence. This seems like a huge step forward from where we are now – and it is – but the technology already exists and we now need to bring this together in order to make this happen.

“We recognise that we don’t hold all the answers however we believe this is a strong starting point for the industry, and a real statement of intent. The CA recognises change has to happen and now we want to invite the industry to debate this White Paper and to discuss the issues, the solutions, and how they might be delivered.

“We’ll be doing this at next month’s Annual Conference and from there we will be seeking industry approval, so we can plan together how the agreed solutions might be delivered. This is a vitally important time for all – the forthcoming Government ‘Call for evidence’ on the home buying process is due soon – but we are not beholden to this and, in publishing this White Paper now, we are able to show what we believe the solutions are, how they can be delivered and what they can offer. We appreciate all the support of those who have contributed to the Paper and would now like to open this up to debate in order to reach our goal of creating a positive home moving experience for all.”

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