- New data layers significantly enhance “fingertip, real-time property screening” for Real Estate Lawyers
- Lawyers instantly visualise property risks and hazards
- Improved streamline functionality and increased efficiency could reduce transaction administration time by weeks
Search Acumen, the property data and technology provider, has upgraded its Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Platform to accelerate the due diligence process for commercial property lawyers by providing instant access to new data sets, which have until now only been obtainable through lengthy and expensive local authority searches.
These new data layers will now give instant access to information which could otherwise take property lawyers and their support staff over a month to obtain through local authority searches and other reports. The upgrades also include improved functionality to make the service even more streamlined and user-friendly.
Search Acumen’s CRE Platform – the UK’s first integrated due diligence platform for managing commercial property transactions – provides an early warning system for potential risks to a property or transaction at the outset of a deal. By doing so, it enables legal professionals to anticipate issues quickly, take appropriate action and give better informed advice to their clients much earlier in the transaction process.
The following datasets have all been newly integrated into the platform for legal firms to access alongside the existing data:
- Highway restrictions, with all highways data updated on a monthly basis
- Surface water flooding information, to complement existing river and coastal flooding data
- Radon levels
- Historic landfill sites, to highlight the potential for an issue to emerge via an environmental risk report
- Public/countryside rights of way
- Sites of special scientific interest (SSI).
In each case, the instant search results link back to the original source to verify the data and streamline the process. This avoids the need for lawyers to trawl multiple organisations’ websites or rely on physical requests for data to build an accurate picture of property risks. In some instances, Search Acumen anticipates this functionality could save lawyers weeks of unnecessary administrative time.
Search Acumen has also consulted with firms that have already successfully integrated its technology into their due diligence processes, and added the following enhancements to benefit all users:
- Confirmation of each property or land title’s country – helping legal professionals on the borders of England and Wales identify the relevant tax requirements
- New map filters to easily identify the presence of unregistered land that may impact a transaction
- Clearer colour coding to distinguish between freehold and leasehold properties
- Clearer title boundaries
- Ability to save progress and download data relating to a portfolio of properties
The Search Acumen CRE Platform was first launched in 2017 to transform the due diligence process for real estate lawyers by providing instant access to commercial property datasets, along with the ability to conduct and manage a portfolio of property searches in one place.
Its new data layers and features enhance the platform as a pre-screening tool to identify risks to a transaction or property from the outset, helping to prevent delays and mitigate the danger of deals falling through.
The upgrade comes just weeks after Government called for renewed action from the property industry – including innovative digital solutions – to improve the homebuying process for residential buyers and sellers. Land Registry also confirmed plans in March 2018 to build a national local land charges service to improve the process of accessing property data for property transactions.
Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director at Search Acumen comments:
“These carefully considered improvements to our CRE Platform underlines its position as the UK market’s most comprehensive data platform for property lawyers – streamlining their due diligence processes by cutting delays while also intelligently filtering information to minimise the risk of ‘data overload’.
“Lawyers and clients both feel the frustrations of lengthy turnaround times when it comes to the due diligence process. We have combined decades of experience and insight with a fresh and innovative vision to address this and equip lawyers to make earlier assessments of properties at the outset of transactions.
“Innovations developed for the commercial market typically migrate into the residential space, and with a push from government to transform the property buying process, we envisage a not-too-distant future where all transactions, be it commercial or residential, are powered by instant access to relevant property data.
“Data and technology can increasingly play a pivotal role in property lawyers’ working lives, and our platform has been designed with this future in mind. When significant investments are at stake, we expect clients will increasingly pick and choose between those legal firms who can harness the power of property data to offer a superior service.”