Would You Consider a Digital Mortgage?

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Added on May 4th 2018

We’re increasingly reliant on digital technology to help us with our everyday lives, from shopping to banking and even working out what’s wrong with our washing machines.

Some things still seem to be done by wizened old scribes scratching away at parchments in dusty vaults (there may be some artistic embellishment here…), with mortgages, in particular, moving along at a snail’s pace.

This may be about to change, however, with the first-ever digitally-signed mortgage being lodged with HM Land Registry on April 5. Coventry Building Society and Enact Conveyancing saw the process through for a house in Rotherhithe, south-east London. This simple act, performed through the Registry’s Sign Your Mortgage Deed service, is the first such deed entered into the Register in its 146-year history.

An important first

The Land Registry says it’s planning for a future in which witnesses won’t need to watch over an ink-on-paper signing. This will save time and will also offer more security to homebuyers, lenders, and conveyancers.

This digital registration is the start of a simplification of the conveyancing process and will mean that transactions are instant whenever possible, speeding up and simplifying property-buying.

Is the tech safe?

The GOV.UK Verify portal, which enables buyers to verify their identity before signing the mortgage deed, was used in this purchase, so the tech is already in use and is already known to be safe. The facility will be rolled out to more lenders in the near future.

How will it help?

The UK government has been looking for ways to make property transactions simpler and faster so if by using secure digital services days or even weeks can be shaved off the average three months it takes to buy a property, then most people will welcome it.

Digital signing means that people can do it wherever they are and whenever they like, reducing hold-ups and stress. Like most innovations, there’ll be sceptics, but increasingly we’re seeing that people are quicker to trust and adopt AI-based solutions as they arise.

Many house-buyers have bemoaned the fact that they can’t just press a button and be done with the process; well, now they can!

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