Between September 2020 to 2021, exactly 804,417 residential transactions took place in the UK (ONS). With each one of those purchases comes a story of delays, involving chasing and waiting. In fact, the average time it takes to complete a purchase is between three to six months. Sometimes it is much longer.
It’s a problem more and more homebuyers are encountering, made worse by backlogs, changes in working patterns, and remnants of the COVID-19 pandemic. But why does buying a home take so long? And what if local authorities, conveyancers, and land registries automated the whole process through the adoption of digital workers?
Let’s say you’ve found your dream home, your conveyancer is lined up, and you’re about to make the offer. Here are three brilliant ways the house buying process could be accelerated with robotic process automation (RPA):
1. The bank could automate mortgage application approvals
Unfortunately, many lenders are still using manual, paper-based procedures for approving mortgages. In many situations this needn’t be the case. With a Blue Prism digital worker, a lender could automatically populate customer data, and run the credit checks process. A risk assessment will be required and may include ratio analysis, data interpretation and also forecasting models to understand if the customer meets the lender’s criteria.
Thankfully, the Blue Prism digital worker can interact with any system that a human interacts with. This also means the analysis and approval process could be lightning fast, and free from human error.
2. The conveyancer’s searches
The searches can take two to three weeks on average, and sometimes longer. One of the reasons it can take time is down to the large number of individual authorities the conveyancer needs to contact. As a side note, there is an opportunity for there to be a single government website or interface, providing all the ‘Search’ information by category. For example, water authority, environmental searches, chancel repairs, etc.
Ultimately, not every authority is equal when it comes to adoption of automation, and therefore the response speed varies massively. In fact, according to Transformation Network, only 5% of councils had adopted RPA in any form in 2019. If every authority adopted SS&C Blue Prism digital workers, the information could be provided to conveyancers immediately. There would be no waiting for staff holidays, out of hours, etc. The authority employees would have their time freed up, whilst they let digital workers do the monotonous heavy lifting.
3. The registration of the property with HM Land Registry
This was an integral process of house buying even before the pandemic, but one that is taking increasingly longer in recent years. Registration typically takes between four to six weeks. Delays in this area can cause major issues for house buyers, including delayed refinances of mortgages with penalties, landlords unable to rent homes out or serve notices, and developers unable to sell their new homes.
It’s common for home buyers to move into a property, believing it is 100% theirs, only to realize it technically isn’t. This is because the transfer has not taken place yet. By automating the registration of property with RPA, not only would the customer experience be less stressful, but it would also be less costly for both the customer and HM Land Registry. HM Land Registry would expect to see peaks and troughs in its workload, but by adopting Blue Prism Cloud, for example, it could utilize a variation of digital workers as and when it needed them.
It certainly doesn’t have to be this way. As we look to new and exciting industries to bring in automation, there are few industries quite as ripe and ready as house buying.
Learn more about SS&C Blue Prism Cloud by downloading our latest report from Ventana Research.