20 years in the conveyancing industry
It has been two decades since the formation of Geodesys… and, coincidentally, 20 years since the property boom began in the UK!
Geodesys came into being around the same time as the early conveyancing searches were introduced and was instrumental in bringing some of these searches to the marketplace. Since 1997 there have been lots of changes in the searches industry and you could say that some of these changes have contributed to how conveyancing practices work today.
Analogue to digital
In 1997 the world was still dealing with faxes, paper documents, order forms and cheques. In the conveyancing industry, solicitors and their assistants needed to spend a lot of time unearthing the important information they needed to support a property transaction.
Twenty years on, search companies have very sophisticated processes in place to simplify the provision of property-related information and data.
At Geodesys, for example, our website offers a simple ordering process to cut down on delays and an intuitive online mapping tool to facilitate the identification of particular properties. This benefits solicitors by giving them valuable time to focus on the due diligence aspects of the transaction for their clients.
The evolution of searches
From 1997 early versions of the Local Authority search and the drainage and water search were available, but both were limited in terms of content.
Geodesys worked closely with other water companies and the Law Society to develop the CON29DW. It launched in 2002, enhanced by the addition of several new pieces of information including location of sewer and water mains, the connection status of a property and billing information.
Geodesys was also one of three companies involved in taking environmental searches to the marketplace after the Government introduced contaminated land legislation in April 2000.
Since then the market has seen some major developments with regard to environmental searches: searches are now available with different levels of screening and risk-specific assessments depending on the nature and location of the transaction. We have also seen a number of standalone reports come onto the market, such as energy and infrastructure, and ground stability searches.
We can’t forget Home Information Packs!
HIPs were introduced in 2007 when it became mandatory for all homeowners to have specific searches done before they could put their houses on the market. Specific components of the HIP included an Energy Performance Certificate, Land Registry official entry and title plan, a CON29DW and a Local Authority search.
However, HIPs were not with us for very long, lasting for less than three years before the Government suspended the requirement!
The need for affordable housing has been a constant theme of recent years. The Government has recently responded with their Housing White Paper (February 2017), taking a first step towards tackling some of the complex causes.
Alongside this, Land Registry will become ‘a more digital, data-driven registration business’. Working together, they aim to have ‘all publicly-held land in the areas of greatest housing need registered by 2020’.
By providing transparency on land ownership and interests, it should become easier to identify land that may be suitable for development.
Geodesys has been at the forefront of the conveyancing industry for the last 20 years and, in 2017, we continue to innovate by ensuring we keep a close eye on housing industry trends. This is complemented by our commitment to our clients, listening to their feedback and developing systems and processes to make their lives easier.
Here’s to the next 20 years!