As sustained buyer demand for new build homes continues to heat up the market, new research from Unlatch highlights what the nation's housebuilders are doing to ease the challenges of exchanging quickly on new-build transactions.
According to new-build sales optimisation platform, Unlatch, finding buyers for new builds is the easy part. It’s the process of moving from agreeing a sale to exchange that can prove challenging.
Notoriously archaic and protracted, the legal process of purchasing a new build has traditionally been the reason that transaction timelines can drag on for a substantial length of time.
As a result, it’s estimated that the average time between a sale being agreed and exchanging on a new home can be as long as 45-50 days.
Lee Martin, Head of UK for Unlatch, says: “Advancements in technology have led to a huge level of digital disruption within the property industry. However, it’s fair to say that the legal process associated with buying a property hasn't evolved to the same extent.
"This is largely down to the old mantra of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, preventing the implementation of any meaningful change. The entire transaction relies on the proper execution of these legalities and so it’s understandable that those responsible for facilitating this process are hesitant to shake things up.
"Of course, as digital natives rise through the ranks across all areas of the property industry, the propensity to embrace and adapt to technological change is becoming more prominent which can only be a positive thing for the future of the new-build home buying and selling process.”
In today’s market, homebuyers already expect more, and the integration of modern-day technology is helping to substantially shorten the time it takes to get the sale of a new-build property over the line.
Over 400 developers and brokers across six countries are already benefiting by utilising this technology via the Unlatch platform, reducing the time it takes to reach exchange to an average of just 25 days.
One of the biggest changes has been to the way legal documents are handled. Electronic signatures now enable reservation, reservation fee (Stripe) and anti-money laundering documents to be signed and countersigned in as little as two minutes. This removes the painstaking admin of handwriting, scanning, emailing and printing that can consume a vast amount of time and resources.
The generation and auto-population of reservation forms, CMLs, sales memos and legal packs is also helping to considerably reduce the paperwork pile and by coding these legal packs, they are ready to distribute within seconds of the reservation being signed.
However, the biggest step forward has been the ability to seamlessly integrate these advancements within a centralised, purpose-built new homes platform, avoiding the inevitable teething problems that arise when trying to amalgamate a range of products from a plethora of suppliers.
Martin continued: “There’s no one size fits all solution for the new homes sector and requirements will differ from one housebuilder to the next based on their size, budget, internal resources and existing practices and frameworks.
"However, this has led to a very blinkered approach when it comes to improving the processes involved in getting a sale over the line, particularly at the back end legal stage.
"Many tech-based solutions have focussed on solving one individual problem and so when trying to combine a number of these products, the result is often a lack of synergy which can actually lead to higher overheads and more work.
"Our aim was to build an all-encompassing platform that improves operational efficiency across the board. We then worked backwards to break this offering down into four distinct modules so that housebuilders can utilise the full offering, or simply opt for the areas where they need the additional help. So unlike most products and platforms, Unlatch was designed by property developers, for property developers, meaning that while the technology is a vital aspect, it was built completely around the needs of the end-user.
"So whether it’s additional support at the initial sales stage, an improved CRM, better brokerage options when dealing with external agents, or improvements when interacting with purchasers, we’re able to tailor a solution whereby all components utilised work seamlessly, both together, or individually, to solve existing friction points.”