Proposal for Reform to the Home Selling & Buying Process

A New and Innovative Proposal for Reform to the Home Selling and Buying Process. The HIP Reform Group, established in November 2009, and now boasting a membership of over 670 supporters, has this week released a ‘white paper’ containing a proposal for reform entitled – ‘New Year, New Start’.

The full report can be read here.

The proposal based on the growing view that the home information pack should be retained rather than ‘scrapped’, contains ideas on how a future government could introduce with little effort, and perhaps minimum resistance, progressive reform to the home buying and selling process.

According to the author of the Paper, Solicitor, David Pett, the proposal is aimed at all political parties, and as he explains ‘contains a proposition that could be introduced with very light touch regulation, and which is designed to bring practical and cost benefits to the consumer as well as the property professionals’.

Essentially the Group is proposing that a seller before offering a property for sale has to engage with an advisor and instruct that advisor to prepare all the information and documents that in the judgement of the advisor will ensure that once a buyer is found the parties will be able to move to exchange of contracts in a timely and cost effective way. This information would then have to be delivered together with a ‘consumer friendly’ summary to the buyer within 28 working days of the first day of marketing or if sooner 14 working days from the date of the offer. The only proviso to this is that the seller to comply with new European law will need to commission and have in place before marketing the energy performance certificate.

The Group envisage that the advisor will be either a lawyer or an existing home information pack facilitator with the responsibility for the preparation and delivery of the information and documents being shared with energy assessors. Mr Pett explains ‘There are many energy assessors scrambling around looking for work and opportunities to earn additional money. The proposal sees the assessor as a key member of the advisor’s team who would use the visit to the property for the energy inspection as an opportunity to engage with the seller and obtain information and documents that will help the advisor with delivery’.

The Benefits of the proposition according to Mr Pett are ‘numerous, and include the quickening of transaction time, the reduction of abortive sales and greater transparency. The HIP has received a lot of criticism for stalling the property market, adding extra cost to a transaction and placing an unnecessary burden on sellers and buyers. Though much of this is not well founded, the HIP Reform Group’s proposal has tried to address these concerns and in my view succeeded to come up with a proposal that offers a balanced proposition that we hope will be of interest to all political parties’


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3 Responses to “Proposal for Reform to the Home Selling & Buying Process”

  1. How is all this going to help purchasers of leasehold property? Leasehold has always been more problematic than that of freehold because of the copious amount of information that surrounds it. I doubt that many people are unaware of the leasehold PIQ let alone the voluntary information that sellers could supply if they wished to under the HIPs Regulations. The issue of managing agents supplying leasehold information was never (to my knowledge) adequately addressed and even though the HIP went some way in bringing leasehold information to the fore, the PIQ was somewhat limited in what it asked the seller to compulsorily provide.

    I have the awful feeling that leasehold is not going to benefit from the proposed changes but if anyone can tell me differently that would be great.

  2. sorry, that should read I doubt that many people are aware of the leasehold PIQ’, not unaware!

  3. I am looking at adding to the draft proposal the following that I hope will address this aspect:

    ‘It is recognised that a property with leasehold tenure can present a far larger challenge when it comes to front loading information and documentation in readiness for early exchange of contracts. In fact there are several major issues with these properties relating to the access and pricing of data held by third parties, such as managing agents. Apart from acknowledging there is clearly a need for these issues to be considered and addressed through reform, the actual detail and ideas for reform, are in our view probably best left to those who are better placed to produce their own white paper.

    This should not however be viewed a devaluing factor as the proposal contained in this document is wholly consistent with the aim of the leasehold reformists in the sense it is based on the premise of early delivery of those items of information and documents that in the opinion of the Advisor will be required by a buyer to proceed to an early exchange of contracts. This would in the case of leasehold titles place an obligation on the seller to ensure full information and documentation from, say a managing agent, is sought at a stage earlier than the current HIP regulations require. It is hoped that the proposal if adopted would lead to the introduction of national protocols to ensure consistency. It will also help to highlight, and perhaps with pressure from industry, favourably address the problems that exist with the wide range of unregulated charges levied by third parties for the delivery of the data’.

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