Home buying and selling: Mandate upfront information, MPs told

The mandate of upfront information will improve the home buying and selling process – that was the main message from industry bodies giving evidence to MPs yesterday.

The House of Commons levelling up, housing and communities committee held its first evidence session as part of a major inquiry on the home buying and selling process.

Kate Faulkner, co-chair of the Home Buying and Selling Group, said mandating upfront information would “revolutionise” the process, “so that when an offer is made, then that offer is made based on all the information they know and there’s no second guessing, which happens afterwards, which typically collapses 25%-30% [of transactions]”.

Faulkner explained that “material information” refers to around 15 pieces of information required by National Trading Standards for property listings. HBSG has identified up to 300 pieces of “upfront information” that the buyer and other parties may need to know before an offer is agreed.

Faulkner said:

“If we can crack these 15 pieces of material information, if we can learn how to share and have that information trusted up and down the chain, delivering 300 pieces of information when required is a lot easier.”

Asked about codifying the National Trading Standards guidance in law, Faulkner called for a mandate.

Faulkner said:

“If one out of the three homes that are in the chain are only doing the work, it makes no difference.”

Maria Harris, chair of the Open Property Data Association, said mandating a full digital property pack would be most useful to home buyers and sellers, “because then the conveyancer and the valuer and everyone has what they need”

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said: 

“If you get a seller instructing on a property that they’re putting on the market, before they find a buyer if you say ‘fill in these forms’, they’re absolutely all over it because they know their house is going to sell tomorrow and they just want to get it through…

“But if, once you’ve got a buyer who has put forward an offer and the seller’s accepted it, and then you say to the seller ‘provide us with information that might put your buyer off, that might cause the transaction to fall through’, they’re either going to be very much slower in providing this information, which is what we find, or they might just twist some of it and say ‘I don’t know’, and then it’s up to the buyer to discover that.

“And that then comes much later in the transaction, so you get people pulling out, and the huge cost to all of the industry and to the consumer of waste.”

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, a membership body for property agents, told the committee that in a recent member survey, 73% of members said upfront information sped up transactions and 63% said it resulted in fewer failed sales.


Kindly shared by The Law Society Gazette