The Future of Conveyancing in the Modern Age
The world is becoming increasingly digitalized. It seems that in the future, we will see a huge technological difference in conveyancing.
The modern conveyancing system in England & Wales was born in 1925, with the introduction of the Law of Property Act 1925 and Land Registration Act 1925. By 1998 the whole of England & Wales was designated a compulsory registration area and the Land Registration Act 2002 (which replaced the Land Registration Act 1925) effectively made registration of any type of land transaction (that is not just purchases and mortgages) compulsory. The result is that 60% of all land is now registered.
According to the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government paper titled ‘Improving the home buying and selling process (2018)’, future conveyancing needs to harness the advances of technology which guides buyers and sellers, gives them the information they need, at the time they need it, allowing them to make the biggest purchase of their lives with confidence.
So, what changes can we expect in the future?
Some initiatives have already begun, the following changes will inevitably take place over time:
Whilst currently, properties are promoted with images, using virtual reality will enhance the buyer’s experience and learn more about the property before making a visit and possibly count a ‘first viewing’, followed a second physical viewing. A small number of buyers are taking virtual tours of luxury homes already and it’s a question of time before this is available in the mainstream.
Sophisticated Property Portals
The current online search portal in its present form is good, however there will be a shift towards providing personalised search results. A search engine which can tailor highly specific information to each individual need would undoubtedly provide a competitive edge to those who are able to lead the way with this technology.
On 5 April 2018 the UK’s first electronic mortgage was signed and executed. Rather than a full purchase and mortgage transaction, this test run involved the re-mortgage of a house in Rotherhithe, London. Whilst there are no plans for electronic mortgages to become compulsory any time soon, there is still a lot of work to do with regards to security checks, verifications to minimise and safeguard against risks of fraud, before full e-conveyancing can become a reality.
According to the report produced by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers’ (CLC), Conveyancing 2030, automation will take over the bulk of administrative duties over the next decade, forcing solicitors to swap the focus of conveyancing services from research to advisory.
It is predicted that properties in the future will maintain “up-to-date logbooks with little human intervention” due to the rapid adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Smart meters, for example, can tell homeowners the expected costs of annual gas and electricity bills.
The aim for any change to the future of conveyancing needs to keep the customer at the heart of these developments. Helping to create a better consumer experience, reducing time from offer to completion and reducing failed transactions.