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Government moves to speed up home buying

Which? calls for changes to 'outdated and flawed' system

Government moves to speed up home buying

As 69 percent of home sellers report suffering stress from delays, the government has today called for evidence into improving the process of buying and selling property.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid says the eight-week consultation will aim to identify ways to make the system ‘cheaper, faster, and less stressful’. Research from Which? has previously shown people find buying a home more stressful than having a child.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of a consultation into ‘unfair’ leasehold practices and a proposed crackdown on overcharging by managing agents.

Is the home buying process too stressful?

New data released by the government today shows both buyers and sellers have significant issues with the current process, including:

  • 69% of sellers and 62% of buyers have reported stress or worry due to delays
  • 46% of sellers are concerned about buyers changing their minds
  • 24% of sellers would use a different estate agent next time
  • 32% of sellers and 28% of buyers were dissatisfied with the other party’s solicitor.

The call for evidence invites the views of anyone with an interest in the buying and selling process, such as estate agents, solicitors and mortgage lenders – and runs for eight weeks from today.

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Four key areas under consideration

During this process, the government will target four significant obstacles for people buying or selling a home. These include:

  • GazumpingGazumping happens when a seller and buyer agree on an offer, but the seller then accepts a higher offer from a different buyer. The call for evidence will examine ways this can be prevented
  • Building trust in the buying process – The government considers mistrust to be one of the biggest issues in the home buying process, with a quarter of sales in England falling through each year.
  • Keeping buyers and sellers informed – This includes making homes more ‘sale ready’, so that buyers have more information in advance of making an offer on a property.
  • Improving the speed of the home buying process – Information is being sought on ‘innovative digital solutions’ including making more data available online.

Which? calls for reform in ‘flawed’ buying process

Responding to the announcement, Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: ‘Buying a home can be one of the most stressful experiences in life, with sales often taking too long or falling through, with some​ consumers losing substantial sums of money’.

‘The current home buying process is outdated and flawed. The Government must put consumers first, ensuring that estate agents deliver a better service for both home-buyers and sellers and that the conveyancing process is simplified.’

Advice on buying a home

Whether you’re buying or selling your home, you’ll find plenty of advice and top tips on Which? Money

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