The latest on property information up front

A leading protagonist in the Conveyancing Association campaigns to create a positive home moving process says vendors need to collate upfront property information to help improve house buying transactions and a smoother sale.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association said:

“Unless the seller has been really ‘on it’ and got everything ready upfront when they decided to sell the property the conveyancers are in that awful position where they’ve got to wait for up to 10 different organisations to provide them with the information they need.”

Beth added:

“If we can get sellers … to collate their information together, they get their searches done themselves, if they’re selling a flat … then they get the leasehold information in, that means when a buyer is found they’ve got everything that the buyer needs, that their valuer needs, that their lender needs to be able to review the information.”

The Times has also launched a campaign ‘Get Britain Moving: Speed up. Streamline. Save money.’ with two main aims to reduce uncertainty by calling for the introduction of reservation agreements (making offers legally binding) and greater transparency through the use of digital innovation to create a faster, more secure and less stressful way to buy property.

More than 200 readers have written to support The Times’ Let’s Get Britain Moving campaign after they reached out to get views on how to improve home buying and selling in Britain. The Times survey results of 120 readers revealed the “majority thought the system could be improved with more information from sellers upfront (97.5 per cent), offers to be made legally binding (95 per cent) and greater use of technology (100 per cent).”

Today’s Conveyancer approached Beth Rudolf to comment on the Times’ campaign and latest article published on 9th April, she said:

“The Times’ readers have identified all of the issues that can improve the home moving process but only if they are delivered together. Other jurisdictions provide all of the information upfront so that when the offer is made by the buyer they have already checked the legal suitability and their financial position as they have been able to check the lender’s acceptance of that property, which means their offer can be binding with a short cooling-off period.

“In jurisdictions with upfront information and binding offers, chains have disappeared in terms of a chain of transactions synchronising exchange of contracts and instead the synchronisation is just on the completion dates so that people can still move from one property into the next. This can be achieved because as soon as an offer is made on their property they can check they can get a loan on the property they want to move to, and that it meets their intended use and enjoyment. They then accept the offer on their sale and make the offer on the purchase with the completion date agreed through the transactions.

“The Law Commission is are consulting on the 14th Programme of Law Reform at the moment and has included the home moving process and vendor disclosure. If enough of the industry supports vendor disclosure then the delivery of the current obligation on the estate agent to provide the material facts becomes a whole lot easier because the seller will be liable to provide the information at the point of marketing.”

Beth Rudolf, who is also the chairwoman of the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG), which launched a ground breaking industry pledge to support home movers in England and Wales in September 2020 said:

“The solutions are all there, they just need to be acted on. The 22-week analogue process can easily be squeezed into a two to three-week digital process.”

Since lockdown, the HBSG has been working with the home moving industry to help ensure the home moving market operates as well as it can during Covid-19 and beyond.

The group produced pan-industry guidance on the day the moving market opened on 13th May 2020 which was clear and concise and included consumer guidance via easy to read checklists.

Late last year the group launched an industry wide pledge to begin to introduce transparency, not just for the industry but for consumers buying and selling a home.

According to the RICS Residential Market Survey findings for March 2021 the stamp duty holiday extension found that property sales market rise in March with the renewed momentum looking likely to be sustained over the near term – monthly property price growth registered a net balance of +59% last month, up from the +52% reported in February.

The report read:

“The March 2021 RICS UK Residential Survey results show sales market activity picking up sharply over the month, with indicators on enquiries, sales and new instructions all improving noticeably compared to last time out.”

3 Comments

  • test

    Very excited to hear all the debate about the Up Front Information. Our PIP Vault allows estate agents, sellers and conveyancers to collate and store information, from the moment the estate agent opens the PIP Vault. We supply the seller with copies of the PIF, Fixtures and fittings form and Leasehold if required so they can complete them at the start of the process. The PIP Vault then allows the estate agent to share the information with potential buyers before they offer. Not only speeding up the conveyance but reducing fall throughs.

  • test

    It is great to see so many stakeholders and wider industry influencers discussing up front data in this way. Beth Rudolf at the Conveyancing Association has championed the industry taking these steps to help reduce transaction times and fall through’s, great work! It remains to be seen who the Law Commission will consult with, hopefully a very broad cross section of the industry to include those that have recently moved home or are put off doing so? We remain ready, willing and able to work with any party that is looking for innovative solutions.

  • test

    Those of us at the forefront of technology recognise the value in what the Conveyancing Association, and in particular, Beth Rudolf, advise. There is so much efficiency with the correct software; links to Land Registry, Lawyer Checker, Search Providers, Know Your Client [KYC] and much much more. Strangely there is a resistance movement, not just to what Beth Rudolf promotes, also to the effective ways of collating data. My favourite comment from last week from a Conveyancer, clearly a member of the Resistance Movement “Oh we tried that in 2007 and it didn’t work!” The clients who are actually doing the moving and are under the greatest stress. Surely we owe it to them to do our best to help to speed matters up. Resisting is not the way forward. Well done the Shakers and Movers out there, let’s just get on the side of the clients.

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