Four months after hosting a flagship conference to identify a 'clear direction' for digitising the conveyancing process, a cross-sector coalition of government, legal and business groups has unveiled a ‘roadmap’ detailing action for the year ahead – starting with a consultation on upfront information next month.

The roadmap is designed around five objectives: no suprises and no delays; transparency and innovation; convenience and security; always improving; and open and collaborative.

The steering group says upfront information will ensure 'no surprises after the buying decision and no waiting for searches'. Next month, conveyancers will be consulted on a plan to action upfront information and evaluate whether a joint statement of responsibilities would be helpful. In April, the steering group will list in priority order the property information that needs to be digital and current state. In June, the steering group will work with dataset owners to understand data improvement barriers.

Estate agents' for sale and property letting signs, Muswell Hill, London

The Digital Property Market Steering Group has set dates to deliver five key objectives

Source: Michael Cross

The ‘convenience and security’ objective focuses on digital ID checks and e-signatures. A consultation on what is needed to remove paper-based processes will be opened in March, followed by a cross-sector ‘roadmap of activity’ in May.

An annual review of the digital health and future direction of the property sector will be published in September.

Land Registry deputy chief executive Mike Harlow said the roadmap is a ‘working document that will be ever evolving’.

Kate Faulkner, chair of the Home Buying and Selling Group, who compered last September’s conference, said: ‘Over the last few years, all those involved in the home buying and selling process from trade bodies to professional organisations, regulators, redress schemes and practitioners - including corporates, franchises and independent companies - have worked tirelessly to agree on how to change the home buying and selling process now and in the future. However, without the support of government, working together with industry to lay key foundations to digitise the buying and selling process, we just couldn’t make the enormous changes required.

'There is a lot to do, but if we continue to focus on improving the process for consumers, this will undoubtedly improve the day to day lives of those who work so hard, in often difficult situations, to put new roofs over people’s heads.'


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