Special Feature: Views and comments on upcoming upfront information – Rob Hailstone, Bold Legal Group
Rob Hailstone, the CEO of the Bold Legal Group has written an article with his views and comments on upcoming changes to provide upfront information.
Mother of God, I can feel something stirring!
As Basil Fawlty would say, “don’t mention the war”; a lot of property professionals would say, “don’t mention HIPs.” But, hey, I’ve done it and the world is still turning.
Over a decade has now passed since HIPs were unceremoniously dumped by the Tory Government. A decade where an awful lot has happened, not least in the last 12 months or so. But just as Lazarus was brought back to life, HIPs will be also, but under a different guise. Possibly Sellers Packs; Property Transaction Packs; Sale and Marketing Packs; Sale Ready; Information Up-Front etc.
As many of you know, I run the Bold Legal Group (a nationwide association of nearly 700 law firms) set up in 2010. What many of you might not know is that Bold stands for Bundle of Legal Documents. From the moment I first read the Housing Act 2004, I thought this has to be the way to go. Getting property lawyers instructed on day one (when a property is first placed on the market). In fact, with the advent of HIPs that could have been even before day one, because the property lawyer was best placed to prepare a HIP. And I don’t mean the thin, flimsy, light, virtually transparent HIP that legislation dictated, I mean a HIP that was as ‘exchange ready’ as was humanly possible.
Just think about it, you can’t market your property until a HIP has been prepared, and the best person to do that is the property lawyer. Sellers would have had to instruct a property lawyer, before appointing an estate agent. The balance of power would have shifted from the estate agent to the lawyer, because they would become the first foot through the door. Sadly though, that boat has sailed. Legislating the collation of property information is unlikely to happen again.
But wait, what is that I see in the distance? A new boat that property lawyers could get aboard. The journey might not be quite as great as it would have been on HMS HIPs (and shift the balance of power) but it might be a much more comfortable journey than is being experienced currently (by levelling the playing field).
I have published a number of articles recently regarding the provision of up-front Information and the responses have been beyond my wildest dreams (in fairness, my dreams are usually pretty dull these days).
Agents, the public, the Government, and even some lawyers are seriously looking at how information up-front could, and should be provided.
Ok, I admit this isn’t quite as gripping as Line of Duty but, in the second installment of this article, I will explain what is happening, why it is happening and how you can be part of this new happening. Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey, we could all be sucking diesel very soon!
Listen up fella, something is still stirring!
I now need to enlighten you on what, why and how! The good news is there were no red herrings thrown in, we are looking at more property transactions being marketed with information up front, or as I like to call it with a Property Transaction Pack.
The Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) have been working on this for a while and have an Upfront Information sub-group. Now, before you ask who or what is the HBSG is, I will enlighten you:
The HBSG is an informal mix of people across the property, legal and finance sectors all of whom passionately believe that by working together can improve the home buying and selling process for consumers.
A key aim of the group is to streamline the information required to buy and sell a home from the start of the buying/selling process through to moving in and during home ownership.
The participants are not just business owners sitting in ivory towers (or in my case a signal box) with products and services to sell and promote, many have been at the coal-face of conveyancing, estate agency, surveying and removals, etc. for many years. They have been there, seen it, done it and have the T-shirt (most can no longer fit in them, though).
The HBSG has introduced an Industry Pledge. The pledge is not about introducing new steps into the process, but it is about gathering information earlier in order to save time later and give us the opportunity to resolve any issues before they hold up the sale.
In order to get property sellers to instruct a lawyer when a property is first marketed, you need to find agents who are prepared to suggest that idea to their sellers and lawyers who are prepared to take those instructions and begin work earlier than usual, and whilst there are a handful of both already in existence, in reality they are as scarce as igloos in the Sahara. That is why I have decided to create a panel of law firms that will work with agents, the public, and others in the Upfront Information way, and I am calling it Bold Legal Move (to boldly move like no one has moved before). As I said earlier, Bold stands for Bundle of Legal Documents. Clever, eh?
This train is leaving the station, the bandwagon is joining the parade, the fuse has been lit. Put it anyway you like but, one way or another, providing property information upfront will become the norm in the near future. It will speed up transaction times, reduce fall-throughs, reduce the stress and anxiety of moving home, and improve cashflow.
It won’t be overnight; it won’t be easy and there will be more twists and turns than there are in a Curly Wurly bar. As Ted Hastings might say: Buying and selling property is tough enough, son, getting lawyers and agents to work together harmoniously, God give me strength.
My name? Hailstone, like the weather, or as an old estate agent contact of mine used to call me, H!
Kindly shared by Bold Legal Group
Main article photo courtesy of Pixabay