Property logbooks could be introduced to the home buying and selling process to speed up conveyancing.
The Home Buying and Selling Group, which comprises various representative groups including the Law Society, has set up a working group to look at how to securely provide a logbook, which would be a digital file containing the key data needed to complete a property transaction.
The logbook would be transferable between homeowners. The information, which would grow over the life of a property, would be formatted so that it could be integrated into other digital systems run by estate agents, local authorities and conveyancers. The government has already indicated that it would support property logbooks.
Solicitor Andrew Garvie, joint head of real estate residential at JMW, said a logbook might help to create an upfront picture of the property for a potential buyer with the aim of reducing the time from offer to exchange and completion.
‘But it will be interesting to see if it becomes compulsory and what the logbook might contain,’ Garvie added. ‘Land Registry records are already publicly available so if this does not take off then instructing a solicitor early on, even when you are listing your property, could help prepare the groundwork for any eventual sale.’
Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, a trade body, said: ‘We know that instructing a property lawyer on listing and providing all information upfront results in average transaction times of just six-eight weeks in other parts of the UK. Making property logbooks the norm will make it incredibly straightforward for homeowners to collate and update information during their ownership. Property logbooks must be regulated to avoid the same issues which we had at the beginning of the century with searches which was eradicated by the regulation brought in via the Search Code.'