A trade body for conveyancers says it would liked to have seen the government require sellers to provide vital information prior to their property being viewed in order to improve the homebuying and selling process.
The Conveyancing Association said there was plenty to welcome in the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government's response to a call for evidence issued last year. However, Eddie Goldsmith, association chair, said making the provision of vital information mandatory would cut down on the 'gazumping' process and the number of failed transactions.
The ministry says one of the reasons why the current homebuying process takes so long is that buyers and their lenders need to be satisfied that they have all the information they need to proceed with their purchase. Assembling the information can take considerable time so the process should start 'much earlier'.
In the long term, the ministry says most of the information consumers need to know about a property should be available when the property is marketed and suggests developing a 'property passport'. In the meantime, the ministry says it will use its 'how to sell' guide to encourage sellers to gather relevant information such as planning permissions and previous searches to be 'sale ready'.
Encouraging sellers is not enough, Goldsmith warned. He said: 'There are obvious benefits to ensuring that the information is collated prior to sale, not least because if it is all available at the point of sale there is very much less opportunity for the transaction to fall through.
'The estate agents we have asked say the biggest reason for fall-throughs is the frustration and stress caused by the delays in obtaining information and dealing with enquiries. Home movers simply give up.'
The ministry issued its call for evidence last year to fix what it considers to be a 'broken housing market'. The ministry said responses have made clear that there is no 'silver bullet' to fix the home buying and selling process but 'small and big' practical changes have emerged.
After floating dual representation, the ministry says it will not encourage buyers and sellers to use the same conveyancer. However, a referral fee ban is still on the cards.