BLOG: Material info WILL be the digital tipping point for industry

Former agent and now proptech founder says the property industry needs to wake up as digital begins to transform sector in earnest.

Gemma Young Moverly material information

The property industry has been abuzz with talk of ‘groundbreaking changes’ for years but while many opportunities have been grasped, some have been bogged down by disappointing inaction. But are we finally at a true tipping point?

I believe we are, and I believe this is going to be a golden age for agents and the property industry. So it’s time to sit up, take notice, and embrace the opportunities that come with this shift.

For some, National Trading Standards (NTS) pushing for Material and Upfront Information has been seen as a continuation of the growing compliance demands and administrative burdens put upon agents.

However, the focus on Material Information (MI) and upfront information should be viewed differently. NTS have pushed for upfront information for a reason. In fact, some agents in the industry have, for years, been bravely encouraging their vendors to provide more information upfront.

Weakest link

The property auction industry does this well too. The issue is, if we’re not all doing it, we’re only as strong as the weakest link in the property chain. For things to really progress, upfront information needs to be on the national agenda, and then we’ll all reap the rewards.

And it is. Upfront information is here to stay with NTS strongly driving the agenda and property portals committing to getting Material Information fields live by the summer. There’s nowhere to hide.

HM Land Registry is committed to digitising the property transaction process, and central government is supporting the digitisation of data.

For example, the Open Property Data Alliance has been established to usher in a new wave of property data standards, which would parallel the possibilities that Open Banking brought to this country. And the Property Data Trust Framework provides a centrally available repository where property data can be stored and accessed securely.

Digital property data is the key to unlocking the future. We’re in a very different place now compared to just a few years ago. The industry is primed for a transformation that will benefit all stakeholders.

What’s coming…

  1. Agents will rapidly move to upfront information solutions and ‘contract ready’ packages that prepare their vendor’s for not just the marketing but the exchang
  2. Real-time mortgage lending is coming, enabling faster and more efficient property transactions
  3. Large-scale automation of ‘pre-conveyancing’ legal tasks, with enquiries being raised and resolved by technology and checked by human conveyancers, streamlining the process
  4. Exchange and completion rates will leap up from 65% to 90%+, resulting in a more efficient and reliable property market

This equals huge upsides for everyone involved. More completions lead to more revenue for agents. More legal fees being paid with fewer overheads leads to a far more profitable conveyancing industry.

More mortgages being closed leads to more homes being built. Fewer home-moving uncertainties lead to more home moves and happier, less stressed consumers.

All of this will also drive billions of pounds in additional GDP for our country, contributing to overall economic growth and prosperity. By embracing change, we can all reap the rewards.

Gemma Young is the co-founder and CEO of Moverly.

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