Updated: Feb 2
Property Searches Direct deliver Searches to conveyancers and now crucially, to property buyers direct.
The simplest of ideas can sometimes make you think “I don’t know why nobody else thought of that” – well they have, in differing guises.
Reviews of the UK property market tend to deem it slow, by international standards, with a high level of failed transactions. Home Information Packs set out to remedy the market by mandating the information a seller was required to compile up front, but this quickly became a cumbersome white elephant that was ultimately scrapped and left to wither on the vine.
Fast forward some 10 years and nothing has really changed. The market is still often slow and abortive transactions frequent. We need to improve the processes, but on an evolutionary scale rather than the revolution that was HIP’s
Property Searches Direct recommend that BUYERS take control of their purchase at the point that their offer is accepted and make choosing an appropriate Search product a simple ‘point and click’ operation via an online PayPal store. We think these actions elevate the status of the Buyer, empowers Estate Agents and takes away stress from anxious Vendors. Estate Agents can incorporate this simple step into their sale process as part of a ‘concierge offering’ and stop chasing law firms every week asking, ‘are the Searches done yet?’
The fact remains that a Law Firm in unlikely to order a Search pack until they have received formal instructions from a client, confirmed with the vendors solicitor that they have been instructed to act, requested and received a Contract Pack and then completed ID checks and taken funds on account from the buyer. All of these components add a delay to the Searches getting underway and the buyer getting visibility of vital information that can be forthcoming in environmental reports within 24-48hrs of ordering.
Law firms can continue to order Searches as they always have done, but Property Searches Direct would recommend that buyers source Searches themselves. This would alleviate considerable administrative burdens on conveyancing teams and their accounts departments, who are already overstretched.
LawyerChecker makes sure that money is going into the right hands by checking the recipients bank account, an HPI Check makes sure that your next car is free from finance, so we all appreciate that information is power. Simple, prudent checks, made at the right time when purchasing a property can yield big improvements in transaction times and wasted money.
Whilst this simple change won’t necessarily revolutionise the UK property market on it’s own, it will go some way to shifting an often uneasy balance of power and give buyers the information they crave to make both informed and timely decisions. After all, if a property has an intrinsic issue with ground stability or is prone to flooding, why not be aware of it ahead of the conveyance getting underway? Waiting to discover these issues many weeks into a transaction seems nonsensical in a digital world where all such information is readily available upon request.
Mike Stainsby is the National Business Development Manager at Property Searches Direct Ltd
(as seen in Today's Conveyancer 24/08/2020)