New proposals to improve buying and selling of homes

The housing industry has developed a series of new proposals to improve the process of buying and selling homes.

The Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) – made up of 120 organisations advising the government – has drafted a memorandum for the “smooth operation of the residential property market in the UK”.

The proposals, in what would be a voluntary agreement, have been drawn up to meet the challenges of the current Covid-19 pandemic but would also apply once the crisis is over.

The memorandum lists what each party, including the buyer, the seller and their solicitors, the property agent, surveyors, lenders and everyone else involved should be doing at each stage of the process.

One of the main provisions is that “if the Seller or Buyer do not have a Property Lawyer, they should be advised by the Selling Agent to appoint one as soon as possible.”

Ideally, this should be before the property goes on the market and prior to receiving an offer.

Once a sale is agreed, the selling agent should send the sales advice note to the solicitors on both sides “as soon as possible with a target completion indicated of approximately between six and eight weeks later (if appropriate)”.

This should include the property information, official copies of the title and title plan, search results and leasehold or shared amenity information.

The memorandum adds: “Where searches have been provided by the seller’s property lawyer and are in date, it is recommended that the buyer’s property lawyer need not repeat the searches provided that they were undertaken either by the relevant authority or a regulated search provider and acceptable to the buyer’s lender.”

We shall keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact us if you would like advice about the legal aspects of buying or selling a home.