Rethinking property transactions to increase speed and certainty
What if the sellers’ lawyers were routinely instructed at the beginning of a property sale? What if they had the time they needed to complete a comprehensive draft contract pack ahead of the game? Such a simple change to the property transaction process could have a huge impact on estate agents, the lawyers and the property industry at large. Most importantly, it could change the face of property transactions in the public eye.
What is upfront information?
Every property transaction requires conveyancers to gather information and data about a property. Often, they will be instructed to act on behalf of a seller at the point of offer acceptance, when the estate agent needs to issue a memorandum of sale to all parties. When the vendor’s lawyer gets the memo, the conveyancer issues terms of business and initial questionnaires, and the process of gathering information about the property begins.
Upfront information effectively means getting ahead of the game. It means gathering all of this information when the house goes on the market. As opposed to kicking the process off when a vendor is already deep in their house selling experience, and the buyer is excited to buy the property.
With that information in place, lawyers and estate agents are in a fantastic position to move ahead more efficiently with the property transaction, using a tight workflow that benefits everyone in the process and in the chain.
How to make the most of upfront information
Upfront information as a concept is not new. But simply obtaining information about the property at the point of listing will have little or no benefit. The key to making significant improvements in transaction speed and certainty is in how the information is processed.
Once the sellers lawyer assesses what information they have received, they will be able to (a) highlight what remains outstanding, and (b) check the validity or acceptability of the data and documents provided. Following this proactive process and with an engaged seller, there is no reason the buyer’s lawyer cannot receive a comprehensive contract pack at the point of their instruction, effectively exchange ready and with little or no reason for any additional enquiries.
In addition to this, having conveyancing lawyers involved at the point of listing a property is an inevitable outcome of parts B and C of the National Trading Standards material information requirements – it’s a change in the law incoming following the integration of part A in February 2022 as a result of the government’s Levelling Up the United Kingdom white paper.
We know a need for “Additional material information that may or may not need to be established, depending on whether the property is affected or impacted by the information,” will soon be legislation that “Applies to properties affected by the issue itself because of, for example, the location of the property.”
This is all part of improving the provision of material information in property listings to create a process and “framework of information disclosure to help agents, software providers, and property portals to comply with the legal requirements of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.”
The sticking point is, as highlighted above, you can have all the information in the world at the beginning of the property sale process, but if you don’t use it properly, it’s no use to anyone.
By structuring and implementing the gathered information into a new workflow the process is refined considerably – and it will answer the NTS call for maximising efficient use of time before contract exchange as well as aiding information transparency and making the promise of a successful completion far more likely.
At Ochresoft, we’re committed to creating that for our clients – and changing the industry for the better at the same time. There are lots of technology solutions on the market to help on the periphery of conveyancing, but we’re concentrated on helping lawyers with the bread and butter. We’re unpicking the industry to identify where we can speed up, streamline, and deliver genuine efficiency, so everyone wins.
With our new Upfront Information (UFI) Property Process, we speed up property transactions by ensuring comprehensive information gets moving from the moment a client accepts an offer on their property.