Search Acumen, the property data insight and technology provider, has introduced its first artificial intelligence (AI) tools to speed up the legal due diligence involved in UK property transactions.
The tools have been developed to harness the advances in machine learning – a subfield of artificial intelligence that enables machines to learn from data and achieve more than they ever could with human programming. They come at a crucial time when conveyancers and commercial property lawyers are responding to a “mini boom” in the market with Government support helping to bolster demand.
While the market has spoken about the benefits of AI and machine learning, Search Acumen is one of the first to integrate this technology into the due diligence process. The tools mark a key milestone in the company’s overall vision of a more efficient and productive property market in the UK, with technology being a core driver in the UK economy’s ongoing recovery.
As with any new recruit, the machine learning tools have undergone rigorous training and are now being used to progress transactions of property portfolios by interrogating and cleansing address data submitted by legal firms. The address cleansing tool reduces hours or even days of administrative time spent error-checking and correcting property addresses and creates a more accurate and efficient due diligence process. Lawyers can then spend more time analysing the data and consulting with clients on any potential risks to progress transactions more efficiently.
Incorrect address data can be a major issue, in particular for complex transactions with hundreds or thousands of addresses, as an isolated error can hold back the entire process until it is resolved. In just a few seconds, the machine learning tool reconstructs address data – cross-referencing it against over 30 million official UK addresses – to produce a consistently accurate result. This can then be matched against external records from HM Land Registry, Local Authorities and other important data sources. As with all machine learning, the tool is continually being fed data, trained and updated.
Search Acumen’s introduction of machine learning is already helping law firms and their clients avoid delays and respond more efficiently to the latest surge in demand. The address cleansing tool is now available to all users of Search Acumen’s Portfolio Cloud service – the first technology platform underpinned by AI which allows law firms to create and manage search requirements for entire property portfolios in a single interface.
Search Acumen has simultaneously deployed machine learning to bolster its Customer Support team in delivering the best possible service to its commercial and residential clients at a particularly busy time. The tool cuts the current processing time of search requests down significantly by categorising emails and attachments and forwarding data to the correct location. The technology is capable of filtering and combining the contents of unlimited emails and attachments received from Local Authorities and other external sources in one place in seconds. It is being constantly fed information so that in future, it can manage the Customer Service’s mailbox without intervention and at great speed without error, freeing up the Customer Support team to focus on delivering the best service to clients.
Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director at Search Acumen comments:
“We are at a tipping point in the property industry and now is the moment for us all to come together and support the shift towards digital once and for all. We have seen several innovations arise to facilitate property transactions under Covid-19 and collaboration will be key in harnessing these, giving consumers and businesses a faster, simpler and more reliable service.
“We have long been advocates of AI, machine learning and other transformative technologies to streamline and accelerate vital legal real estate processes. While there has been a lot of talk and hype around AI, very few are walking the walk and putting words into actions for the benefit of conveyancers and commercial real estate lawyers. The development of our first machine learning tools is an industry first, which shows how applying technology in daily workflows can radically improve tasks that are often frustrating, frequently mundane and absolutely essential to get right without delay.
“We are already seeing significant cost and time saving benefits for our clients. Rather than replacing jobs, the introduction of AI and machine learning to property transactions enables lawyers and support staff to get back to their role as expert consultants and provide first-class service to their clients.
“This is the first stage in our transition to becoming a business with AI and machine learning at its core. Having also been part of the world’s first blockchain trial for property transactions, we are committed to equipping real estate lawyers with the tools and techniques to embrace the digital age and make the due diligence process fit-for-purpose for the 21st Century.”