Rebrick Solutions are the first Case Management software provider to be working on the BASPI (the Buying & Selling Property Information form) initiative. Learn more below in LawtechUK’s report on Smart Contracts in Home Buying and Selling.
Buying and selling property in the UK can be a slow, complex and stressful process. Smarter contracting can accelerate and streamline the conveyancing process, increasing transparency and improving the experience for all involved. Technology ranges from basic applications and systems like electronic signatures and case management platforms, to digital tools that capture and exchange property data throughout the conveyancing process, to smart legal contracts and blockchain technology which have the potential to revolutionise the home buying process.
Technology offers new possibilities for property transactions, with a fully digital conveyancing system predicted in the next few years. Raising awareness of the technology that is available, developing clear guidance and standards, and making property data more open and accessible will be critical to evolve and improve the home buying and selling process.
Case management software and platforms
Conveyancing is a complex process that has six key transaction stages from initial instruction to post-completion activity, within which are a further 35 steps that break down into yet more actions and processes.
Most of these steps require interaction between various parties and services, including the buyer, seller, businesses representing buyers and sellers such as banks, and third party service providers that support the conveyancing process such as digital identity providers and search providers.
When all the steps and interactions are handled separately, conveyancing tends to be slow, cumbersome and stressful for the parties to the transaction.
Within the UK property market, there are legal software platforms to streamline conveyancing processes and automate many of the repetitive and manual tasks required in the process.
These systems are capable of automating everything from onboarding clients and requesting search data right through to filing with HM Land Registry. The LSSA (Legal Software Suppliers Association) represents many of the leading UK Legal Software suppliers.
There are significant benefits to be gained from creating an infrastructure that enables parties involved in property transactions to have a consistent and shared view of property data throughout the home buying and selling process.
HM Land Registry’s vision is for the property market to be perfectly informed by digital data and since 2017 it has been actively digitising its system to enable the move from receiving paper-based applications to online applications, with much of its work focused on showing its customers the value of using structured data.
In April 2021, HM Land Registry launched the Digital Registration Service on the HM Land Registry portal. This enables customers to enter application details directly into the portal. From November 2022, HM Land Registry will no longer accept scanned or PDF copies of the AP1 form for property ownership changes via the HM Land. Registry portal to further accelerate the move away from paper-based systems and processes. Search Acumen has recently launched a conveyancing platform that uses natural language processing to extract key data to input into the HM Land Registry portal, estimating a time saving of five hours per conveyancing transaction.
“A digital application process, based on data rather than traditional paper-based methods, is fundamental to transforming the way we register land and ultimately will play a vital role in improving the endto-end conveyancing journey. Not only does it offer the immediate benefits of quicker processing times and fewer errors, but it opens the opportunity for further innovation in the future.”
Simon Hayes, Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar
Interest in upfront information is gathering momentum, as it helps speed up transaction times and reduces fall out rates, as well as enabling access to a range of new consumer-centric products and services. The Law Society’s TA6 Part 1 Upfront Information Trial is looking to improve the home buying experience through a new transaction form, TA6 Part 1, by tracking the impact of capturing conveyancing data earlier in the process and in a digital format. Industry initiatives to collect upfront information for homebuyers continue to develop. For example, the UK Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) published the Buying and Selling Property Information (BASPI) dataset in March 2021. The dataset is designed to be the ‘one source of truth’ when it comes to upfront information about a property. It is completed at the point of marketing a property and contains the information to complete the TA6, the Property Information Questionnaire and valuation summary, with a view to reducing extra enquiries and post-valuation queries as well as avoiding sales falling through after several weeks due to a lack of information provided to the buyer. There is potential for this data to be integrated with the contract stages of the home buying process.
The HBSG has also developed a Property Data Trust Framework to enable the frictionless exchange of property data between software products and services, supported by trusted information regarding the
provenance of that data. The HBSG’s associated property data schema provides a path for the industry to move away from ‘forms based thinking’ to structured data that can be used in smart legal contracts.
The HBSG’s Technical Taskforce is carrying out a proof of concept to test the framework, with market participants Veyancer, Redbrick Solutions, VTUK and Adoor having connected to a shared blockchain network to exchange structured property data and verify digital claims about property attributes. This work is a foundational building block to enabling smart legal contract automation.
Projects are also underway to embed artificial intelligence, data mining and machine learning capabilities into conveyancing work, such as the Knowledge Transfer Partnership project between My Home Move Ltd and the University of Liverpool. To read the full report click here.