Comment: Change is coming for conveyancing

This is a rather odd article to be writing because it will be my last one before I leave Broker Conveyancing at the end of the month, although I will still be working with the team there on a consultancy basis.

Next month Mark Snape, the new MD will take over, and I am sure he will have his own take on the industry and the issues that impact on all of us who work within it.

To say the last decade, working within this sector, has been an interesting one would be a gross understatement. There have been plenty of changes but I believe when it comes to the home-buying process, and the changes it will undergo going forward, we ain’t seen anything yet.

While the Brexit debate rages on, quietly in the background we have a government that is fundamentally committed to perhaps radical change in the way houses are bought, and the conveyancing process in general.

Plus of course we have the great strides in technology that – at some point – are likely to mean a digital/joined-up process that should shave a considerable amount of time off the process, make it more efficient and transparent, and perhaps (although I believe margins are thin enough already) might make it cheaper.

If not the latter, then I guarantee we will have less failed transactions which never make it to exchange/completion, because it is the government’s aim to ensure that the huge amount of money and resource spent in this market is not wasted.

Now, advisers who deal with certain conveyancers and feel they have to jump through plenty of hoops, waiting months on end for completion, let alone any sort of communication from firms, might well baulk at this belief. But, slowly and surely it will happen – indeed, I think it is already happening.

There will be big changes at the Land Registry including the digitalisation of documentation, there will be portals and platforms – perhaps a Property Log Book – that ensure once information is collated it is kept on file for that individual property, and it will get rid of the duplication of ID checks, ensure better provision of upfront information at the marketing of the property, and a much more tech-focused delivery from conveyancers.

And that’s certainly not pie in the sky. Instead, it is happening now and we – currently – have a government that wants to deliver on this. Even if that government changes, I suspect whoever takes over, will want to continue on this path. It seems an issue that has cross-party support.

So, as I leave this market, I am hopeful of what can be delivered and continue to believe mortgage advisers and their clients will benefit from this. I wish you all the best and thank you for all your support and your business over the years.

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