NAEA calls for properties to have a digital property log book

Following the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) conference last week a number of suggestions have been sent to HM Treasury on new policy ideas for both estate and letting agents to be included in 2020’s Spring Budget.

One of the biggest challenges is to identify ways in which to help reduce the number of failed residential property transactions each year and speed up the home buying and selling process. This could be achieved with the Government’s introduction that all residential properties should have their own unique digital Property Log Book. The case for this being it ‘would allow for a more interactive, streamlined and transparent process for both home buyers and sellers’.

On average it takes around six months from a property being listed to completion of sale, and 8-12 months between offer and completion in England and Wales. Further, in the first quarter of this year 38.8% of sales fell through before completion – the highest rate in a decade NAEA 2020.  The view being that a digital property log book documenting each stage of the transaction process, with deadlines for submission, will simplify long and complicated property chains.

Download the NAEA Propertymark Spring Budget 2020.

300,000 housing transactions fail each year, at a cost of £270m according to MHCLG (2019). There are many reasons for sales to fall through, but poor property information delivered late in the sales process are a huge drain on conveyancers, agents and the mortgage industry on top of the disappointed buyers.

As the Conveyancing Association recommends  ‘Collating the Property Information and Title Information on marketing the property to be supported by a conveyancer’s certificate as to any missing documents will provide greater information to the buyer upfront, avoid delays in completing the information and ensure that title is reviewed early to give the seller the opportunity to resolve any title issues ahead of the sale’.

The buying and selling of a home can be quite complex and can often require vast amounts of information and confirmations relating to the purchase. This is a time consuming and costly process. The information often sits in multiple places and bringing all the information together in the one place, that can be accessed and reused multiple times, will help reduce further time constraints for all those involved in the transaction process. This also supports the ability to share all the information with as many relying parties at once, introducing greater transparency as all relying parties see the same information at the same time.

It will also help reduce duplication of effort and by default associated costs. We know from experience that documents can be lost or misplaced. This holds up a sale and it is often left to the seller to try and source these documents, such as a warranty that relates to a new build home. Again, there are financial implications to consider.

Putting together a secure repository of information that stays with the property will help reduce the time, effort and costs associated with capturing, storing and sharing of information, reduce failed transactions and help tackle property and identity fraud.

For more information on Property Log Books.