Search Acumen

Digitalisation cuts time spent on due diligence by 50%

Firms processing real estate transactions could save on average 115 working hours per month by adopting digital tools, according to research by Search Acumen.

A standard freehold transaction takes about 10 hours on average, falling to five for those using a digital conveyancing platform, the company said. The average firm in England and Wales processes 23 transactions a month.

Search Acumen’s research, which it undertook as part of R&D for its recently launched end-to-end due diligence software, suggests that UK firms could have saved a collective 8.1m hours by automating and digitalising al conveyancing processes.

To calculate total time savings, the company looked at how long each individual task took currently and with software that automates the process.

For example, digitising AP1 submissions – the process for changing the register, post-transaction – saves as much as half an hour per transaction with software that auto-populates forms and analyses real estate data.

Those time savings appear small initially but quickly add up across the industry.

Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Search Acumen, said: “These findings should act as a rallying call to the property and legal sectors, especially with many having seen first-hand that existing, age-old processes have not been fit for purpose in the face of market turbulence and large demand spikes over the last two years.”

He added that he expects strong housing demand to persist in the coming years as people “continue to adapt their lifestyles to a world shaped by the pandemic”. As a result, Lloyd urged the industry to futureproof itself with greater tech adoption.

What Search Acumen does

Search Acumen’s residential platform automatically combines and distils data from a variety of sources to streamline key stages of the property transaction process.

This includes managing client onboarding, local authority searches, engagement with HM Land Registry, title reports, indemnity issues, bank checks and post-completion filings including AP1 forms and stamp duty submissions.

The platform can also extract information from documents and use it to auto-populate legal forms in order to simplify processes and reduce the risk of data entry errors.

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