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The Conveyancing Association (CA) – the leading trade body for the conveyancing industry – has today (13th July 2022) announced a number of results from its 2022 Lender Survey, used to identify where the industry can collaborate to improve the mortgage and conveyancing process.
Within the survey, the CA also asked conveyancers to rate a number of lenders in terms of their waiting and response times, consistency of reply, clarity of mortgage instruction, follow-up actions, etc. The results can be shared with each individual lender covered that wants to see them.
It also asked conveyancers to give their views on a number of topics including post-offer queries and how this process might be sped up. Over 80% of respondents said they had ‘usually’ (25%) or ‘sometimes’ (57%) had to raise a post-offer query with a lender.
When asked what one thing would speed up the post-mortgage offer process, 48% of conveyancers said better communication via the lender portals, 36% said securing a better response time to queries, 11% said greater consistency within UK Finance’s Lender Handbook Part 2, and 5% said the introduction of a standard post-offer referral form.
While 11% focused on the Lender Handbook, when asked whether they felt either the UK Finance or Building Societies Handbooks needed to be updated, less than half said yes.
The survey also sought to gain views on the withdrawal of mortgage offers and how common this had now become. While 50% of respondents said they had rarely acted for a client who had a mortgage offer withdrawn or amended, 27% said this had happened ‘sometimes’ and 8% ‘usually’.
Reasons given for why a mortgage offer might have been withdrawn included almost 50% who said it was to do with issues with the property Title, or the borrower not meeting affordability requirements (27%), or the terms of the lease (12%) or something else (13%).
Conveyancers were generally positive about the use of lender portals with over 80% believing they add benefits to the profession in helping them deal with lenders, however only just over 50% believe the charges to use them are reasonable.
Finally, there was overwhelming positivity about the greater use of Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) within the process. Close to 80% of respondents said they felt having the ability to sign dispositions such as mortgage deeds and transfers using a QES accepted by HM Land Registry would improve the customer journey.
Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery of The Conveyancing Association, said:
“Our Lender Survey is always a useful exercise in its ability to determine the current bottlenecks that we hope can be overcome with a sharing of this information and greater collaboration to improve the home moving and mortgage process.
“Clearly, we have already started to engage with the lender community on potential areas for improvement. Post-offer queries are a major drain on all stakeholders within the process and it’s obvious from the survey results that a large number of these can be sidestepped with the greater use of upfront information at the point of marketing.
“This is already on its way thanks to the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team project to deliver material information. By having the correct details about a property at instruction, stakeholders can reduce their liability and the resources needed in dealing with the case which will improve the home moving process for all, especially the consumer.
“The most common reason for a mortgage offer being withdrawn is because of Title issues, and again if this was known at the outset, then it would be possible to mitigate against such an outcome.
“We all want to see an efficient, more certain, conveyancing process in action. One that does not take the best part of five to six months, and in terms of the post-mortgage offer process, conveyancers feel better communication and quicker query response times will help significantly.
“Greater use of technological solutions and digital options will make a huge difference to the consumer, the conveyancer and HM Land Registry. It’s therefore positive to see the enthusiasm for QES usage amongst conveyancers from the results, and we are aware 21 law firms are currently signed up to a QES pilot with HM Land Registry, utilising three signature platforms. We look forward to seeing the results of that pilot which hopefully set the foundations for greater QES usage right across the piece.”
For further information on The Conveyancing Association, please visit: www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk