The conveyancing industry may have been grappling with how to modernise its processes for many years but the recent white paper published by the Conveyancing Association gave it fresh and much needed impetus.
If you have read it, you’ll remember how it highlights succinctly the issues facing the industry, and suggests sensible solutions. This includes the dragging chains of anti-money laundering, slow contract pack information gathering, the horrors of complicated leaseholds and local authority searches.
But the time taken to issue mortgage offers and deal with post-valuation queries interests me most because tech already provides solutions. For example, Nationwide has made big strides towards improving its digital mortgage approval systems and recently set aside £500,000 just to invest in faster decision making. And conveyancing platforms such as MyHomeMove.com’s bespoke E-way system, which I think is the standout technical innovation in its field, are helping too.
Countrywide is doing its bit. Our digital Risk Hub is helping to redefine best practice in managing individual property risk in valuations. We’re also contributing to guidelines on how and when PVQs should be reported to lenders.
The Conveyancing Association wants action here too and its white paper calls for a standardised referral process for valuers.
But overall, we’ve believed for some time that technology will be key in almost all areas of conveyancing improvement, and the Conveyancing Association agrees. The paper makes it clear that tech will relieve many of the pinchpoints I mentioned above.
The tech it would like to see introduced includes electronic checking of ID to make the AML process faster, a standardised online home report to prompt vendors to provide property information earlier in the process, and more secure digital communication platforms between consumers, conveyancers and lenders.
But let’s not jump the gun. While tech is advancing fast, it is still at an early stage of development. Nevertheless, it looks very promising.
Paul Wareham is managing director – surveying & conveyancing services at Countrywide