As anyone who’s ever bought a property will know, the purchase process in the UK isn’t always straightforward. The various rules, regulations and conventions that govern conveyancing can make buying a new property stressful and time consuming, with the number of failed transactions in the UK still an issue for buyers and sellers across the country.
Last year, in an effort to try and streamline the process and improve the experience for both customers and professionals, the Government issued ‘Call for Evidence – Improving the Home Buying and Selling Process’. The document instantly sparked debate, and over 1,000 responses were received in answer to the consultation.
After going through these answers, the Government has issued its response. It addresses some of the main areas they believe need to be improved in order to make the buying process better for everyone.
Areas for improvement
The report identified three main areas of the home buying process that needed to be tackled. These were: improving consumer experience, reducing the time from offer to completion, and reducing the number of failed transactions. The Government plans to make a number of changes in order to address each of these issues and gradually make the buying process better for both customers and professionals.
Estate agent regulation
One key area identified by the report was estate agent regulation. As well as strengthening consumer redress, the Government plans to work with the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team to improve enforcement of the existing regulatory framework for estate agents. A mandatory professional qualification for estate agents may also be introduced in the future.
Reducing time from offer to completion
According to @TConveyancer, “the average time in England and Wales from offer to completion is around 8 – 12 weeks.” The report published by the Government acknowledges that this long wait can have a negative impact on consumers and in some cases can lead to the collapse of the buying chain. The Government believes that technology is the answer to this issue. It hopes to encourage innovation in the area and work with partners to improve the capabilities of technology available in the industry.
Reducing failed transactions
The response to the Call for Evidence report showed that there was a great deal of interest in the idea of an upfront legal agreement between buyers and sellers. The idea behind creating this agreement is that it would help to reduce the number failed transactions and give both buyers and sellers more confidence in the process. It’s possible that a pilot scheme will be introduced in the coming years with a view to this agreement becoming a standard part of the selling process in the future.
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Written by: Editorial Team