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The power of upfront information in property transactions

The power of upfront information in property transactions

Conveyancing frustrations and delays caused by incomplete information during the property transaction process are avoidable, says Rob Gurney, managing director of Ochresoft. “We know we need this information for the process, so we need everyone to get ahead of the game and deliver it early on.” 

He is not alone in his thinking. Our new Market Research Report found that 75% of conveyancers believe receiving upfront information (UFI) and data insights on a property earlier in the process would speed up transactions. Surely, when three-quarters of a profession agrees there is a way to speed up a process, there is reason to listen.  


Get ahead of the game 

The UFI crusade of the last couple of years is pushing to move things forward in a transaction, enabling us, as an industry, to speed up the conveyancing process. The whole purpose of UFI is to instruct the seller’s lawyer before the property is sold – at the point the agent lists the property – giving the conveyancer a golden window in which to gather all the information they know the buyer’s lawyer will need when the properly sells.  

“But it’s not just about information gathering. They can also check the validity of data and documentation for acceptability or potential defects”, says Rob. “Identifying problems and remedying them early saves everyone time and upset.” Over half (62%) of our respondents also believe it would provide greater certainty to buyers, by removing the element of surprise.  

By sharing data insights on a property earlier in the process, conveyancers have time to put a perfect contract pack together, so both sets of lawyers can move into action, unhampered, as soon the buyer accepts an offer. With a comprehensive purchase pack in place, the buyer’s conveyancer has a chance to analyse and approve the abundant information without delaying the purchase.  


The devil’s in the detail 

By sharing property specific information – planning approvals, conditions approvals were granted on, financial burdens, public rights of way, conservation areas etc – as the property goes on the market, estate agents can have more confidence in the prospective buyers who request a viewing. Those viewers have good-quality information that aids their decision of whether or not to make an offer.  

Currently, that information is only shared once the conveyancing is underway which meansthere is a greater chance of delayed completions or sales falling through entirely, wasting everyone’s time and money. 

The potential benefits of upfront information will only become apparent if the lawyer is instructed at the point of listing. If that happens, we can move, as an industry, towards that being the norm, and we could see a significant increase in the efficiency of the onward conveyancing transaction – or as Rob puts it:  

“Providing all the information before being asked for it is the ultimate dream”. 


Save pain and delays later on 

Receiving information upfront is clearly paramount, but, as Rob points out, “Despite quite a high percentage of conveyancers (55%) believing UFI would reduce additional enquiries during conveyancing, I’m surprised the statistic is as low as it is.” 

If 55% of conveyancers can see the clear benefits of upfront information – why do 45% think UFI won’t help? “Maybe they’re not joining up the dots”, says Rob. “If we can get the information earlier and anticipate what the buyer’s lawyer is going to need before they ask for it – and crucially supply that data – we can all but eradicate the additional enquiries process. One of the main reasons for raising additional enquiries is to ask for information and data you haven’t got, so let’s pre-empt that by gathering and sharing it earlier.” 

Conveyancers we surveyed told us they had needed to raise additional enquiries  on an average of 46% of cases in the preceding 12 months as a direct result of incomplete information. “By ensuring the buyer’s lawyer has good complete data and information ahead of time, we could radically reduce or entirely remove the need for the additional enquiries process and the subsequent delays caused by it”, Rob points out.  

At Ochresoft, we’re committed to changing the industry for the better and supporting our clients. There are lots of technology solutions on the market to help on the periphery of conveyancing, but our focus is 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. 


Read the full market research report


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