The government’s manifesto committed to reforming and modernising the conveyancing process.
A recent government survey sampling more than 2000 people revealed some interesting statistics about the house buying process:
- 69% of sellers reported stress and worry
- 46% were worried about the buyer pulling out
- 32% of sellers and 28% of buyers were unhappy with the other sides solicitor
- 24% would use a different estate agent
The government’s manifesto committed to reforming and modernising the conveyancing process. Last week the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid announced an 8 week consultation period seeking input from the industry, including consumers, on the reforms the government seeks to make the process "cheaper, faster and less stressful for those involved".
The main points the government is looking at are:
- Building trust and confidence
- Informing customers
As part of the reforms the government hopes to remove the practice of gazumping by modernising the process in line with other foreign countries such as Denmark and the USA. This would be done by reviewing the current pre-contract phase and ensuring that buyers and sellers enter into a binding contract at the offer stage to ensure protection against gazumping.
There are also plans to review the transactional process and innovate by making properties "sale ready". Mr Javid was keen to state that this would not mean the return of the previously failed HIPs (Home Information Packs). It is hoped that the process will be streamlined and the current delays experienced will be reduced.
Around a quarter of property sales fall through leading to stress, wasted time and money for customers. Plans to improve this positon by innovating and informing customers of the process will lead to an "increase confidence in the housing chain." Other sources reveal that the figure of one quarter is underplayed and it could be closer to one third, meaning even more reason to move towards a modernised process. Alex Neil of Which?, said "the current home buying process is outdated and flawed. The government must put consumers first, ensuring estate agents deliver better service for both home-buyers and sellers and the conveyancing process is simplified." This came after data produced by Which? indicated the process of selling a house to be the second most stressful life event.
It will be interesting to see whether the 8 week consultation will lead to any material changes to a system that obviously has many issues.
In the meantime, please contact us if you need guidance through the conveyancing process.