As we wrap up National Conveyancing Week, it’s time to reflect on the incredible impact technology has had on the conveyancing world. I’m Mevludin Dzihic, the Chief Technology Officer at Verify 365, and I’ve witnessed first-hand how cutting-edge innovations have transformed the way we approach property transactions and various technologies and schemes that have been launched or are currently being developed to streamline the conveyancing process.
In this article, I will provide insights into the challenges that these technologies strive to address. Key areas of improvement include Speed, Compliance, Collaboration, Transparency, and overall progress in innovation and advancement to match other industries.
As these challenges affect all firms equally, there is a compelling opportunity for businesses to leverage digital transformation as a distinguishing factor in terms of service quality and value proposition.
While every buyer eagerly awaits their completion, and every seller anticipates receiving funds, we live in an era where speed is increasingly becoming a norm. The pandemic has accelerated our on-demand culture, and it’s only natural to expect things to be done swiftly. But is this expectation unreasonable? If technology allows us to accomplish tasks faster, should we embrace it? And should the legal and property sector be any different?
The average time to complete property sales has been steadily increasing, now approaching 19-22 weeks. Delays are often caused by outdated and duplicated processes, manual paperwork, and a lack of proper communication channels. This is where technology comes in to streamline the process and significantly reduce the time taken to complete transactions.
Compliance is a crucial aspect of conveyancing, and staying up-to-date with ever-changing AML compliance regulations can be challenging and often the reasons for hesitation and delays. Regulators are constantly introducing new obligations on law firms, conveyancers, and estate agents. In June last year, the SRA introduced a new obligation for 6,000 firms to submit data regarding the scope and potential risks associated with their work. This mandate requires firms to complete a form detailing their exposure, including information on the value of work carried out for their largest single client and the extent of high-risk work conducted.
Compliance has become increasingly challenging due to stringent source of funds checks. The SRA advises firms to trace back as far as necessary to establish a comprehensive understanding of how clients have accumulated their funds for the transaction. This added responsibility has become a significant burden on legal businesses. These developments highlight the pressing need for innovative technological solutions.
In the home buying and selling process, a diverse range of stakeholders work together to ensure smooth and successful transactions. These include estate agents, residential surveyors, property lawyers, mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, insurance professionals and search and data providers, Each group plays a vital role in the property transaction process, from marketing and valuation to legal representation, financing, risk assessment, information provision, logistics, and technological support. The seamless collaboration between these stakeholders is essential for a positive and efficient home buying and selling experience.
The importance of collaboration in the conveyancing industry cannot be overstated, especially considering the historically tense relationships between parties involved in the home buying and selling process. It is well-known that the relationships between estate agents, conveyancers, and other stakeholders have often been strained, leading to delays and frustration for clients. Efficient communication and collaboration between all parties involved in the conveyancing process is essential for a smooth transaction.
Transparency is vital for building trust between parties in a property transaction. Digital solutions can increase transparency by offering real-time updates, detailed transaction histories, and easily accessible documentation. Blockchain technology or assured identity data, in particular, can help create a transparent and secure environment for property transactions by providing a decentralized, tamper-proof ledger.
Keeping up with changing consumer demands
The conveyancing industry has been slow to adopt innovative solutions compared to other sectors. As technology continues to revolutionise various aspects of our lives, it is crucial for the conveyancing world to catch up and leverage these advancements to provide better services. Embracing technology will not only improve efficiency but also enhance the overall customer experience, setting new standards for the property transaction process.
So far, we have looked at the challenges but let’s dive into the exciting new technologies that are set to revolutionise the conveyancing sector and explore how these technologies can help streamline the property transaction process.
MYID ‘digital ID’
Verify 365’s latest technology, MyID, is set to revolutionize the way people interact with different parties involved in the conveyancing process, including estate agents, lawyers, and brokers. MyID is a blockchain-based digital ID wallet that allows users to store their own verified identity in their app or wallet, providing them with an assured digital identity that can be trusted and relied upon throughout the transaction process.
The current disparity in the system, where different companies provide authentication and verification services, creates a lack of trust and reliability, leading to delays and increased costs for clients. MyID aims to provide a solution by allowing clients to have their own verified identity that can be used across different platforms, making the process smoother and more efficient.
The UK Government recognises the need for an assured identity to simplify the conveyancing process and is working to develop a legal framework to establish safeguards for citizens. MyID is set to be a game-changer in the industry, providing peace of mind and confidence in the digital world. With its advanced biometric technology and risk engine, DynamicID, MyID offers a reliable and secure way to verify identity and protect against financial fraud. MyID’s potential to simplify the conveyancing process, reduce friction, cost, and abandoned transactions, makes it an exciting development in the industry.
Secure Send ‘sharing identity information’.
Secure Send, a feature of Verify 365 Enterprise is allow property professionals to securely share their clients’ completed verification reports with trusted third parties and colleagues, while keeping their sensitive personal information in the Verify 365 portal.
By eliminating the need for parties to repeat the same due diligence checks over and over, Secure Send removes duplication, saving time, and reducing costs for both clients and regulated professionals. This solution enables all parties to work towards a common goal, with access to the same information, and a clear understanding of what has been completed and what still needs to be done
Secure Send also ensures that electronic identification and verification are provided to all parties involved in the transaction, eliminating any discrepancies or different risk appetites. This means that everyone can make their own considerations and approach to the mitigation required, ensuring that all parties involved are on the same page and that the process is compliant with regulations.
Advanced and qualified eSignatures
eSignatures are and will continue to be are a game-changer technology for conveyancers, lenders, buyers, and estate agents, as they bring numerous benefits to these stakeholders. With electronic signatures now being accepted by the HM Land Registry, stakeholders can benefit from greater flexibility, an improved signing experience, and more efficiency when working with HMLR.
One of the most significant benefits of eSignatures is the ability to turn agreements around much faster than traditional paper-based processes, often taking only hours or minutes to complete. This speed is especially relevant when documents require witnessing, which can create unnecessary delays when individuals cannot meet face-to-face. In addition, electronic signatures can save up to £30 per agreement compared to paper processes, making the whole process much cheaper.
Digital workflows also have practical benefits, such as creating a digital audit trail to ensure robust tracking information. This keeps processes transparent, and the agreement process is available for future reference if there is a dispute down the line. This visibility is especially important when signers and witnesses are unable to sign in person.