The homebuying process currently takes on average 19 weeks but can vary depending on many circumstances. During conveyancing transactions, the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will require documents/information about the property, such as copies of planning consents, electrical safety certificates, warranties or guarantees. If the seller does not hold certain documentation, delays are likely whilst the relevant documents and information are sourced.
In an effort to make the home buying process quicker, cheaper and less stressful The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has pledged to fix what is considered to be a broken housing market.
The government are likely to push sellers to provide more up-front information in the form of a Property Logbook before the property goes on the market. The Conveyancing Association (CA) and Law Society believes digital Property Logbooks could be an efficient way to speed up and ease home buying and the Ministry’s Matt Prior believes it is not unreasonable to expect a seller to provide upfront information to a prospective buyer especially in the case of purchasing a leasehold property.
By providing information upfront in the form of an information pack that describes the property at that moment, people can make more informed decisions, hopefully reducing the number of failed transactions which add up to more than £270 million a year. The plan is to authenticate the data in the Property Logbook and store it digitally so that the information is readily available for the next time the property is on the market.
Earlier on this year, the government discussed whether it should be supporting plans to develop digitalising aspects of conveyancing to speed up the process. Although consultation respondents said ‘yes’, many were concerned about fraud. There are large sums of money changing hands in the conveyancing sector making this an area of law heavily attacked by fraudsters. Any new procedures introduced would, of course, have to be analysed to ensure they pose no threat to the security of a transaction.
The information to be included in the proposed Property Logbooks is yet to be confirmed but it has been reported that information such as search data, title, rights, reservations, restrictions, basic survey information, the seller’s data and leasehold details will be included.