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Nearly 10 years ago, Yvette Coper the then Housing Minister in Tony Blair’s government “masterminded” the ill-fated “Home Information Packs” designed the speed up and stream line the conveyancing process. They came into effect on 1st August 2007 and coincided with the “banking Bust” which lead the property market into the most dramatic “falling off a cliff” recession – which saw property prices in our area drop by as much as 35% in just 18 months.

The Conveyancing Association, CA, have revealed a white paper discussion document which suggests ideas to streamline and speed up the house moving process. They want to create certainty for the house mover, to prevent fraud and to create a more effective level of communication between all parties.
The CA (www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk) wants to create a “log book” and “Home Report” for each home
The CA represents around 50 of the top 100 UK solicitors and licensed conveyancers and are collectively responsible for at least 20% of all property transactions.
I think all estate agents and home movers would agree that once a sale is agreed the frustrations and worries start. We all think that the process is full of unnecessary delays, lack of communication, endless list of queries & questions between conveyancers and clients, and huge amounts of uncertainty until exchange of contracts.

If I had a magic wand, then I would suggest the following:

Before placing a property on the market the agent and vendor provides a full contract of sale. Whether this is called the property log book, full Title Registration or E-Report, doesn’t really matter. Possibly backed by an insurance policy, this document represents the sale of the property.
Before a Buyer starts viewing houses and makes an offer, they would need a formal mortgage offer, not just an Agreement in Principle.
So, once a buyer has made a decision on their perfect property, and an offer is accepted, a contract can be exchanged almost immediately with a completion date of upto 8 weeks ahead. I think this a similar to the process in the USA.

Malcolm Thomas

Founder at Malcolms Estate Agents

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