Terraced Houses

Government Looks to Improve the House Buying Process in England

In October 2017 Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced a call for evidence on how buying a home could be made cheaper, faster and less stressful for those involved.

At the announcement Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid said:

“We want to help everyone have a good quality home they can afford, and improving the process of buying and selling is part of delivering that. Buying a home is one of life’s largest investments, so if it goes wrong it can be costly. That’s why we’re determined to take action to make the process cheaper, faster and less stressful.

“This can help save people money and time so they can focus on what matters – finding their dream home. I want to hear from the industry on what more we can do to tackle this issue.”

The call for evidence looked for people’s views on a broad range of issues including:

Gazumping - This is where a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, only to later reject it in favour of a higher offer from a new buyer before the contracts have been exchanged.

Building Trust in the Market - The Government stated in their announcement that “1 million homes are bought and sold in England each year, around a quarter of sales fall through and hundreds of millions of pounds are wasted”. The Government want to know more about schemes such as 'lock-in agreements' and how they could help improve this.

Informing customers – Speeding up the process by gathering more information in advance so houses are ‘sale ready’ when they go to market.

Innovative digital solutions – The possibility of moving more data online to save people money and speed up the buying process.

Recent Research into the Buying and Selling Process

Coinciding with this announcement the Government published research that they had conducted with over 2000 people that had recently bought or sold a home. This research found that:

  • of those that experienced delays, 69% of sellers and 62% of buyers reported stress and worry as a result of the delay
  • 46% of sellers had concerns about a buyer changing their mind after making an offer
  • 24% of sellers would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again; and
  • 32% of sellers and 28% of buyers were dissatisfied with the other party’s solicitor

Did You Have Your Say?

The call of evidence is focused towards the professionals working in the sector, but everyone was welcome to submit their views. The consultation was open from 22 October 2017 until 17 December 2017.

The questions asked included:

  • How do we ensure buyers and sellers are able to access good guidance on buying and selling homes?
  • Should sellers be required to provide more information before they market their property?
  • What can be done to improve the customer experience of buying a new build home?
  • What should industry do to help consumers make more informed decisions when selecting a conveyancer?
  • What more could be done to encourage borrowers to seek a Decision in Principle from their preferred lender before they start house hunting?
  • How should we best tackle gazumping?
  • Should the industry (estate agency) do more to make customers aware of how to complain?

Read the full document

We will be updating this article when the Government release the findings once they have analysed the feedback


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