The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published a response to a call for evidence on improving the home buying and selling process. Here follows a concise annotation of the governments response:

1. Making the home buying and selling process quicker, cheaper and less stressful is a priority for this government. Over one million homes are bought and sold in England each year. Delays and complications in the process bring unnecessary financial and emotional stress to customers and may lead to people delaying their decision to move. This is not acceptable. The government is determined to bring about meaningful change to the home buying and selling process in order to make work for consumers rather than against them.

2. In October 2017, we launched a Call for Evidence which sought the views of industry and the public on how the home buying and selling process could be improved.  The Call for Evidence ran for 8 weeks from 22 October 2017 until 17 December 2017. We used the BEIS research report ‘Buying and selling homes: consumer experience study’  to inform our Call for Evidence.

3. The Call for Evidence sought views on 25 questions which covered the whole of the home buying and selling process, from finding a home, to purchase, to moving in. There are a wide range of professionals involved – estate agents, lenders, conveyancers, surveyors and removal companies. We received 273 organisational responses which covered all of these industries in addition to a strong response from members of the public with 932 personal responses.

4. The proposals set out in this response relate to England only, except for those concerning estate agents. The regulation of estate agents is reserved and so proposals concerning estate agents relate to Great Britain. We will be discussing the relevant proposals with the Scottish and Welsh governments.

5. This Call for Evidence is part of a wide-ranging body of work government is undertaking to improve the housing sector. One area of particular focus has been leasehold. We recently published a response to our ‘Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market’ consultation , and our ‘Protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market’ Call for Evidence closed in November. In February we published a consultation ‘Strengthening consumer redress in the housing market’. We expect the outcome of this work to lead to a significant improvement for consumers irrespective of the type of housing they live in.

The above was in part reproduced with permission from the Government website.

Following on from this, the report goes on to explain the ways in which they will do this. See below an annotated list of issues on the immediate agenda.

The Government have vowed to address the following:

  • A better consumer experience
  • Further regulations for estate agents
  • Strengthening the existing regulatory framework, ensuring agents comply with consumer protection regulations.
  • Mandatory qualifications for estate agents
  • More transparency around referral fees
  • develop and publish guides on ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’. These guides will ensure customers are better informed of the process and know what to expect throughout.
  • Help consumers to make a more informed choice of conveyancer which considers service levels, not just price.
  • improve the process of dealing with buyer complaints
  • Making moving day better: work with removal firms, conveyancers and lenders to see how the process around the release of funds can be improved.
  • Reducing the time between offer and completion
  • Use of better technology  – encourage use of digital innovators.
  • More information available up front, –  this will speed up the whole process
  • Earlier contact with freeholders
  • Speeding up LA searches
  • Getting a Decision in Principala certificate from a mortgage lender setting out how much money they will lend to a buyer. We believe that all non-cash buyers should obtain a Decision in Principle before they start house hunting
  • Reducing failed transactions
  • Reservation agreements – contracts which increase commitment between buyers and sellers earlier in the process, providing more certainty and reducing the risk of gazumping.

The report goes on in great detail as to  how the above implementations will come into being however for now it is suffice to say the Government promise some big and interesting changes.

To view the full Government report, see here.

Leave a comment