Reactions to last Friday’s announcement of the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) industry-wide pledge to begin to introduce transparency, not just for the industry but for consumers buying and selling a home, were generally favourable though, as a reader commented, “It really is not rocket science but needs a shift in attitude from the legal profession and for agents to explain the benefits to clients.”
Law Society president Simon Davis said:
“The pledge could help clients take advantage of the stamp duty land tax holiday, which ends on 31 March 2021.
“We hope it will make consumers aware that the sooner their solicitors can carry out their work, the quicker the sale contract can be prepared.
For sellers, the pledge recommends they instruct a property solicitor on the day they market their property and fill in the property information forms as soon as possible. For buyers, it is recommended that they secure a mortgage agreement in principle and ensure the money they need to complete the sale is readily available.
“It is clear from recent announcements that the prevailing exceptional circumstances are set to continue well into 2021,” said Simon Davis. “The pledge aims to provide something uniform that both buyers and sellers can benefit from in this unusual Covid-19 market.
“The pledge aims to provide something uniform that both buyers and sellers can benefit from in this unusual Covid-19 market.”
Andy Sommerville, Director, Search Acumen commented:
“While MHCLG has previously provided some pertinent guidance for improving the home buying and selling process, more needs to be done at a time when the market is struggling with delays and failing to match rising levels of demand. Industry commitment is now needed to take its guidance one step further.
“The time has come for concrete action to cut down search delays once and for all.
“While MHCLG’s call for providing more information upfront is spot on, it lacks teeth.
“What is needed is the right digital tools to arm conveyancers and commercial real estate lawyers with crucial information to mitigate risk and act earlier on behalf of clients.
“We need a leap forwards in due diligence that provides much more than just a short-term fix for property transactions. Better use of data and technology is crucial in tackling the surge in property demand. Firms adopting digital innovations are best placed to lead the market into a ‘new normal’ by providing better advice and service to clients in the long-term.”