Customer Area

Just another talking shop ?

With much fanfare, a new government “steering group” has been announced with the catchy title of Digital Property Market Steering Group (DPMSG) for short

HM Land Registry seems to be the driving force (which is good) and the main stated aim as

“If information about properties was available immediately to all concerned and everything was handled digitally, it could speed up the property market and reduce stress and the risk of failed transactions.”

In short upfront information is provided digitally. Further details can be found here.

Now please excuse me if I appear somewhat cynical in this regard but having been in this sector for 30 years I base my cynicism on past experiences. Let me explain.

Back in 2008 –  (yep over 15 years ago)  I was one of the founder members of the e-homebuying forum. A very similar well-intensioned group of industry leaders who included   people representing the Halifax, TM, Searchflow, Landmark, Lexisnexis, OneSearch, EasyConvey, & Goldmsith Williams

We produced a blueprint for change and engaged HMLR, MP’s and anyone who had an interest. Much like the DPMSG is suggesting today. Here is an early draft of their blueprint from 2009

The number 1 item was Up Front Information, closely followed by a chain matrix to provide transparency.

It could be argued we were successful as Home Information packs were introduced in 2009 but of course, canned by the conservatives in 2011.

Since then we have also seen HMLR spend several million on a chain matrix – that was eventually scrapped.

The Law Society spend £8million on a Veyo project that was supposed to be the digitisation of the whole conveyancing system – and that was scrapped

HMLR decide to digitise the Land Charges register – a project first mooted in 2014 and here we are in 2023 with over £100 million spent and currently only about 90 of 300 Local Authorities have been converted. However, this does not really help at all as a local search includes Con29 data which there is no plan to digitise and would take many more years and many more millions.

We have also seen the rise of Home Buying & Selling Group which have similar aims and working groups and yet have been completely omitted from this  DPMSG initiative.

In all this, the most important people are constantly either ignored or unwilling to take a significant role and that is the Estate Agents.  Maybe this is because they are not regulated (another goal of the e-home buying forum) but without their input, the DPMSG is doomed to fail like all its predecessors.

Finally, the key to any process has to be to engage with existing tech companies who actually earn a living in this market and not just  “prop-tech wannabes” – Reapit and Property Software group from the estate agency world. Advanced Legal, the Access Group, Lexis Nexis, InfoTrack & Minerva as legal tech providers all have existing products that work and have a sound financial model.

Perhaps the powers that be should talk to those that have real experience on the ground and ensure a legislative framework is put in place to make these things happen whilst ensuring a level playing field for all concerned so that the best solution will win out in a free market.


Richard Mathias – Sales Director at LFS the firm behind Minerva Client On-Boarding