Conveyancers have called for up-front information to be made available to would-be purchasers, and also for a secure portal where all parties can track the progress of transactions, in ideas reminiscent of Home Information Packs and the ill-fated Chain Matrix.

The Conveyancing Association has launched a ‘white paper’ discussing ideas to improve the home-moving process in England and Wales.

The trade body says the system in England and Wales suffers from a lack of transparency and certainty, and delays.

It wants to see legislation for an e-Home Report, similar to the Scottish system, that could be completed online.

Beth Rudolf, author of the report and director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said: “We do not support the return of costly and cumbersome Home Information Packs. What we do support is the preparation of information for the sale of property in an electronic home report.

“This has been proven to reduce the timescales to exchange of contracts in England and Wales by estate agents and conveyancers who already work together in this way, as well as from research into other jurisdictions which shows that this is pivotal to the reduction of time and stress in the home-moving process.”

The report also suggests a centralised ID verification process with the Land Registry and an ultimate aim for a centralised home-mover portal that could be accessed by all parties and to cover off all necessary forms, client identification, mortgage details, searches and co-ordination of dates.

Readers may remember the Land Registry shelving ideas for a similar centralised system called the Chain Matrix in 2007.

Rudolf said: “While the Chain Matrix did offer the potential for providing more transparency to the home-moving process, it ultimately failed because of the double keying of information, but more importantly the estate agent was not empowered to create the chains and the conveyancers were simply not in a position to identify the links in the chain without the estate agent’s input.

“What we need in the current cyber risk climate is a secure portal, which could have been afforded by the Chain Matrix if it had gone ahead, whereby all parties can communicate without the risk of criminal interception.”

Other proposals include requiring a legal commitment on offer with a five working day cooling-off period and having completion monies sent through the day before completion to provide certainty for the seller.

Solutions to the discussion paper, ‘Modernising the Home Moving Process’, will be discussed and debated at the Conveyancing Association conference on December 1.

Eddie Goldsmith, chairman of the Conveyancing Association and partner at law firm Goldsmith Williams, said: “Working within this industry, I believe we’re all aware that at present we do not have a home-moving process which is fit for purpose.

“Since the beginning of the recovery of the property market, conveyancing times have steadily increased from eight weeks – from offer to completion – up to the latest estimate which places transaction times at 13 weeks.

“For leasehold transactions the length of time is often greater. It is against this backdrop that the Conveyancing Association decided to embark on a project to identify why these delays occur, how the process works in other countries, and by undertaking research and talking to as many stakeholders as possible, to identify potential solutions which can get us to a far better place for all concerned.”

Meanwhile, there is still no sign of the Government’s promised call for evidence into improving the home-buying process. This was announced in the March Budget by former Chancellor George Osborne, but nothing has been heard since.

A Conveyancing Association spokesman said its own “white paper” is a separate piece of work.