How digitisation has moved conveyancing into the 21st century

Nowadays you can do almost everything online – food shopping, clothes shopping, buy a car, and even a house. But what about the legal aspect of a property purchase? Up until recently, this was still very much a traditional industry whereby customers would select a firm local to them and the process was all pretty much offline.

Luckily, in recent years the conveyancing industry has seen grass root changes in the way in which it completes its transactions and the vision of ‘eConveyancing’ or electronic conveyancing set out by the UK’s Law Society in 2005 is slowly starting to come to fruition.

While the conveyancing process isn’t a completely paperless or fully online process yet, there have been several changes in recent years to help move the industry forward including:

Online verification & money laundering checks – with house buyers and sellers more open to using online conveyancers there has been more of a requirement to offer an alternative to sending original documents as proof of identity. Therefore, conveyancers often carry out an electronic money laundering and identity verification check.

Property information – over the past twenty years land registration property information has been digitised in an electronic centralised database, managed by the Land Registry. This has been a leading light for solicitors and others as now they’re able to download copies of a registered title directly, rather than having to post off an application form and wait for a reply.

Digital mortgage deeds – HM Land Registry’s digital service ‘Sign your mortgage deed’ was launched in 2018. The service was pioneered by enact conveyancing and we were the first to have a remortgage registered using the new service.

Online case tracker – keeping up to date with your case is even easier now that many property solicitors provide clients with an online case tracker service. This enables customers to view, download and upload important documents, find out what milestones they have reached in their transaction, and to converse with their dedicated case handler in a secure environment.

As the industry dynamics shift it’s no wonder house buyers and sellers are looking at conveyancing firms that provide their services nationally, as traditional brick and mortar high-street solicitors aren’t necessary when conveyancers can manage transactions via email, telephone and online technology.

The Law Society produced its vision for eConveyacing as it cited the current process is not adapted to deal with modern society, increased volume and diversity of transactions and market expectations for speed and transparency. It is hampered by a complex, cumbersome legislative framework and thus inherent delay.

As the UK’s largest direct conveyancer we understand house buyers’ frustrations in how long a property transaction can take and that’s why we have champion electronic conveyancing to work around our customers’ busy lifestyle as much as possible.

What’s more, with COVID-19 restricting new housing transactions to a certain degree, it’s highlighted the need for eConveyancing to enable house purchases to progress quickly pre-sale to post-completion with conveyancers able to access all the information they need at a click of a button.

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