People want to do everything through their mobile phone in the same way as buying home insurance or booking a holiday. But can such a self-service approach be used to benefit conveyancing clients?
We introduced a web portal a few years ago to protect our clients against fraud. Today, on average, our log in over 75 times during their transaction, with the most active viewing over 450 times. They obviously want to know what is going on.
While some would like to do everything themselves, conveyancing is complicated and there are some practical problems stopping them doing this. A lawyer acting for a buyer will not send money directly to a seller. A mortgage lender will not rely on a seller to pay off their mortgage. A private individual cannot represent a mortgage lender when buying a property.
People could do part of the work themselves, although some changes are needed. They want an easy way to prove who they are and use electronic signatures. Unfortunately, the regulators do not allow these yet, but it is only a matter of time before this changes. Clients should be able to download official title documents and copies of the property forms directly, but Land Registry and The Law Society currently do not offer this.
However, with portal technology, people could share the information they have obtained, for example, upload leasehold management packs directly onto the case. Using the same technology, sellers could respond directly to buyers’ enquiries and buyers could ask sellers questions directly. Finally, they could give permission to exchange through the portal.
People like technology and they want conveyancing to be more efficient. Although 100% self-service is very much in the future, smart solutions can help us get some of the way there, today.