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MPs To Probe Home Buyer Information - is it good enough?

MPs on the all-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee want to quiz representatives from across the house selling community about the property transaction process about the information available to buyers during the sales process. 

From late April it will take oral evidence from interviewees in the Commons but much sooner - this Thursday, April 18 - is the deadline for written submissions.

The probe will look at how efficient or effective is the existing process for buying and selling homes and how could this be improved; how could consumer experience be improved during buying and selling; and  whether the reliance on voluntary initiatives is enough to improve the buying and selling process, or does it need legislation?


It will look in detail at three sectors: 

Transaction Process:

·         What is the impact of issues in the transaction process, such as gazumping or gazundering, and how could they be remedied?

·         Would greater use of reservation agreements improve the transaction process?

·         What prevents reservation agreements being more widely used? Why has a short, standardised reservation agreement not been developed, as promised by the then Government in 2018? 


·         Do buyers have the right information available at the right time during transactions?

·         What effect would it have on the transaction process if sellers were required to provided set information about a property when it was marketed?

·         How much data associated with housing transactions still needs to be digitised and how can the digitisation process be accelerated or prioritised?

·         What challenges are there to digitisation or providing information at listing?


·         Do consumers have sufficient information to determine which conveyancer to use? How could information provision on conveyancing be improved?

·         What effect would a mandatory professional qualification for estate agents have?

·         Should there be a single, legally enforceable Code of Practice for property agents?

·         What impact does the practice of referral fees have, and how would a review, standardisation of practice, or ban affect transactions and consumers?

“The process of buying and selling a home in England is often stressful for those involved. Indeed, despite there being around two million households who successfully buy or sell their home each year, consumers often find the process is not as efficient, effective, or as consumer-friendly as it could be” explains Clive Betts, chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee.

“As part of this inquiry, we will look at the chief obstacles to improving the process of buying and selling a home. We will be keen to examine issues such as the time taken to complete a transaction and challenges in finding the right information. Topics such as a lack of transparency around conveyancing services, the payment of ‘referral fees’, and the weak regulation of estate agents will also be on our agenda in this inquiry.


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