Seven law firms and an estate agency, with offices across the North West and Yorkshire, have proved that working together, they can make up front information gathering, client onboarding and engagement, safe, simple and quick.
Professional body now pushing for collation of up-front information
Earlier this month the Law Society joined the ‘up front information’ concept announcing that they would be starting trials to provide buyers with upfront information crucial to the home buying and selling process. Stephanie Boyce, the president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said last month.
“The answers to the questions in the new TA6 Part 1 will help to inform a buyer’s decision to purchase and will support industry-wide initiatives to begin the systemic collection of up-front information about a property.”
With a reported 32% rise in identity fraud over the past 5 years (to 2019); the government have been compelled to consult on the use of digital identification in a safe and secure way.
Ahead of the game
Ryder & Dutton, a 26 branch Estate Agency, has been doing exactly this since July of 2020.
They have utilised the Minerva technology platform, delivered by legal technology specialists Law Firm Services, and have revolutionised the conveyancing process over the last 8 months.
The process allows the agent to instruct conveyancers when the property first comes to the market. Not unusual, but then the technology takes over, putting the client first.
The client signs up to a secure online solution which is hosted by the law firms. They can complete the all the necessary protocol forms, T’s & C’s, digital ID and any bespoke transaction forms required. The data is collected and then sent to the law firm in the TA6 which is required as part of the CQS.
Using data to help speed transactions up and avoid duplication
This same data is used to complete up front information provided to both the estate agent and prospective buyers. This removes duplication of effort and ensures the agent can comply with Trading Standard obligations.
The Minerva solution also allows the law firm to share both Safe Harbour Standard ID and HMLR official copies of the register with the agent, thus saving time and cost for all parties involved.
Ryder & Dutton have also taken the extra step of organising searches to be ordered at this very early stage to avoid delays later in the transaction. They were not to know just how valuable this was going to be when the scheme was put together in 2019.
A step ahead at a key time
As COVID-19 struck many local authorities closed or had very limited access. One of the worst was Calderdale and the town of Halifax, where search times were a minimum of 12 weeks towards the end of 2020. Sellers who had chosen to use Ryder & Dutton were in much better position though, as many had searches ordered long before a buyer was found. In March 2021 Ryder & Dutton completed over 100 contract ready cases and the whole scheme has been a huge success with time and money being saved every step of the way.
Richard Powell MD of Ryder & Dutton commented
“This really has been an extraordinary effort by everyone and shows what common sense and working together with law firms can achieve. The idea was put to us by one forward thinking law firm, but all of our panel have adopted it and we have been winning new instructions from sellers that can see the advantage of quicker completions.”
Richard Mathias Sale Director at Law Firm Services who developed Minerva says;
“We are immensely proud of this solution. There is no doubt that by using digital technology to onboard clients quickly and securely we can make a significant impact on the time taken to undertake conveyancing.”
Elton Ashworth of Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors, one of the law firms who have Minerva implemented throughout their conveyancing department, says; “It has been a pleasure to work with Ryder & Dutton and Minerva on this project. We have seen a significant rise in the number of instructions, all our clients are benefitting from this technology.”
In relation to the Law Society pilot, President Stephanie Boyce had earlier commented “Technological change in the conveyancing market has accelerated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”