The property sector goes digital

Embracing technology in an increasingly digital world is imperative. However, the real estate sector has developed somewhat of an unfair reputation for failing to embrace modernisation.

While it may appear to have been notoriously slow at embracing tech-savvy changes in the past, this preconception is undoubtedly changing. You only have to look at the evolvement of “proptech” to discover this.

Virtual reality and drone usage have taken centre stage in most media, but it is not just this impressive technology that has digitised the industry. The entire process of buying and selling homes is becoming more reliant on digital platforms, as people attempt to save on time and lower costs.

The launch of the HM Land Registry’s (HMLR) digital Local Land Charges Register is a prime example of this ongoing desire to speed up the process. HMLR has recognised this, claiming that, “the most important aspect of adopting this new technology is being sure that it benefits users and makes the conveyancing process simpler, faster and cheaper.” Rather than having to apply to the council for this information, it is now freely available online.

HMLR’s initiative was preceded by the announcement of paperless mortgages. Historically, applying for a mortgage has been an arduous, complicated, document-heavy task that takes weeks to come to fruition. In an attempt to combat this, both lenders and customers have embraced the use of DigiDocs. First trialled by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, this method enables the entire mortgage process to be completed digitally.

What next?

Perhaps the most contentious digital change in the process of buying homes has been the introduction of blockchain to underpin the conveyancing process. The obstacle standing in the way of mass adoption across the industry lies in the ability for people to trust a new system of managing money and payments – especially something as intangible as Bitcoin.

If given the opportunity, blockchain has the potential to revolutionise the system by massively reducing costs and the time associated with using intermediaries. The time taken between exchange and completion could be drastically reduced, for example.

The new digital land register, paperless mortgages and the use of blockchain are all milestones. They illustrate the property sector’s commitment to using creative digital technology and data to provide quicker and simpler transactions.

As the first property developers to sell a residential property via blockchain technology, HS Property Group are in full support of continued digital progress in our sector. Buying and selling properties is an extremely time-consuming task and, by utilising modern technology programmes and e-signatures, the process has been simplified for all involved.

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