How is technology shaking up the conveyancing industry?

Earlier this year, a new online platform was launched which allows people the opportunity to buy a property in just one click.

The Dot Button, which was created by one of the founders of buy-to-let mortgage lender Landbay, enables investors to finance and acquire properties online, similar to the way they would buy a book.

Since then, one-click conveyancing has become a hot topic in the property industry. But, while the Dot platform has got people talking, this Amazon-style approach is unlikely to become a reality for average home buyers any time soon. However, with the government looking for ways to revolutionise an outdated home buying process, one-click conveyancing is not the only digital transformation making waves.

In October last year, Clicktopurchase.com completed the first online property transaction by blockchain; going from initial marketing to a verified online exchange in just one week.

With the Financial Conduct Authority stating that the technology is likely to provide benefits particularly “in sectors where multiple participants need to share data and/or processes safely, particularly where firms are still reliant on paper-based records”, the transaction is likely to have a significant impact on the property industry.

In April 2018, the first ever digital mortgage deed was entered into the Land Register. Filed by Enact Conveyancing and Coventry Building Society, no witness was required to observe the signing, nor was a traditional ink signature needed. The registration forms part of HM Land Registry’s plans to transform the conveyancing market, utilising digitisation and the improved use of technology to simplify and speed up the home buying process.

The ability for mortgage offers to be made online is possible due to the government’s Gov.UK Verify service. Verify enables anti-money laundering checks to be undertaken and allows borrowers to authenticate their identity securely.

In May, Shieldpay and My Home Move’s law firm subsidiary, Premier Property Lawyers, with the support of Barclays and the CLC, powered the UK’s first fully digital mortgage settlement. Through Shieldpay’s digital facility, one of the most stressful parts of the home buying process – moving day – could be transformed.

And, earlier this month, LendInvest, the UK’s leading online property finance marketplace, announced that it had partnered with identity verification provider Onfido to streamline the digital mortgage application process. Relating specifically to buy-to-let products, applicants can now confirm their identity online, without the need for paper forms.

The market is seeing disruption, albeit via a series of incremental changes. But, taken together, these changes have the potential to significantly speed up the home buying and selling process for all.

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