The future of Estate Agency? (Part two)
THE CONVEYANCING PROCESSWhilst I have almost a quarter of a century of dealing with property transactions and studied contract and conveyancing law as part of my estate agency qualifications, I do not profess to be a conveyancing expert. However, like many agents and conveyancers/ solicitors who deal with our archaic system every working day, I do know that the system needs fixing. Interestingly, I believe the introduction of CPR (Consumer Protection Regulations) may be the catalyst the whole system needs
- As all properties coming onto the market should now be checked for any known issues that may affect a sale (in effect, the standard property information questions a solicitor would normally ask after a sale is agreed at present), it seems to make sense to me that we now introduce this prior to a property coming onto the market. In effect, we should now ensure that a legal pack (with plain English summary of important issues) plus this PIQ is available from day one of marketing, including a title plan (available from HM Land Registry for about £3.00).
- Owners would not be required, but would be strongly advised, to have a current electrical installation report, gas safety report (where applicable) and any other reports/ specialist surveys which may be called for by a buyer.
- It should also be mandatory for the seller to have a sales contract commissioned before a property commences marketing and, for that to be in place within 21 days from commissioning or, like the EPC, marketing should be suspended.
- In the same way that sellers are now legally liable for describing their property accurately,
buyers should be made legally liable for how they describe their ability to purchase. E.g. it would be an offence to describe yourself as ‘chain-free’ or a ‘cash buyer’, if this was not true.
- Lenders should have a statutory obligation to process paperwork and mortgages within set, reasonable guidelines, that are agreed at the time a mortgage is applied for. E.g It will be a breach for a lender to promise a mortgage offer within 10 working days if they then deliver in 15.
- Searches must be turned around by local authorities within 10 working days as a maximum by statute.
- All agents and solicitors involved in a transaction must be held more accountable for correct chain information and the passage of that information between all parties. Proposed exchange and completion dates should be made available to all parties with changes and the reasons for those changes updated on the same working day or, immediately, the next working day.
- Surveyors must make available their comparable evidence when a property is down-valued and, if an interested party believes this to be an unreasonable down-valuation, there should be access to a rapid (10 working days) appeals process.
- Lenders must agree to transfer money instantly/ underwrite any transfer once it is sent, so that completions can happen truly instantaneously (BACS should also be instant for all invoices too!).
- Solicitors must be obliged to register the transaction with HM Land Registry within 5 working days. This would facilitate almost ‘real-time’ house price data on a National scale; adding additional accuracy and transparency in property valuations, sales and journalism etc.
I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.
About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter and lives in Penzance.