An agreement between solicitors, surveyors and estate agents in Northern Ireland to improve the conveyancing process could be a template for England and Wales, it has been claimed.
The Law Society of Northern Ireland, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and estate agents body NAEA Propertymark have signed a memorandum of understanding  (MoU) that aims to improve communications between all parties.
It seeks to offer “another layer of reassurance of ‘best practice’ in home-buying and selling”, a joint statement said.
The MoU sets out what each party should be communicating to whom and when. It starts by telling estate agents that, when they receive instructions from a vendor, “they should immediately inform the vendor’s solicitor and provide a copy of the brochure as soon as possible. This should not be left until the property is sale agreed”.
The code urges the vendor’s solicitor to keep the selling agent “reasonably advised as to the progress in the sale”, and to identify a target completion date with the purchaser’s solicitor that is usually six to eight weeks after the sale is agreed.
Kirsty Finney, Northern Ireland representative for NAEA Propertymark said: “The launch of the MoU is a positive step to drive change in the industry. It is very reassuring to see the three main professional industry bodies collaborating to produce a document that outlines new processes which is aimed at improving the customer experience.”
Dame Janet Paraskeva, chair of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers in England and Wales, added: “This initiative underpins the importance of all professionals involved in the process working together to improve the consumer experience.
“We welcome efforts to demystify and streamline home buying and selling and we are keen to see how a similar approach could be rolled out in England and Wales with the support of regulators and professional bodies.”