Business

Government plans for estate agent regulation backed by 82%

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10th April 2018

A massive 82% of UK adults back government proposals requiring estate agents to be licensed, according to a new study.

The 2018 Homeowners Survey, an annual study conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance and polled by YouGov, to examine the concerns, views, and issues affecting British homeowners and aspiring homeowners, found that the vast majority of respondents (82%) support the idea of a government-backed license requiring estate agents to pass standardised tests before being able to practice.

The study also found 80% of UK adults are in favour of buyers being required to prove they have necessary funds to buy the property before putting in an offer, while 75% back the introduction of a reservation agreement which requires buyers and sellers to put down a non-refundable deposit to commit both sides earlier in the process and increase the certainty that the sale will go through and at the price agreed.

The survey results (polled on 5 April 2018) fully support the government's announcement on Sunday to professionalise the estate agent market through licensing of estate agents and the pilot of voluntary reservation agreements.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance, commented on the findings: “These figures mirror what we hear repeatedly from our members. Estate agents are an essential part of the home buying and selling process, but unfortunately, a number of those operating within the sector have a cavalier approach when it comes to good practice. Sellers are trusting agents with their most expensive asset, and too many are receiving shoddy service. By professionalising the industry, the government will give buyers and sellers greater peace of mind, and better practice.”

On proposals to introduce a reservation agreement Higgins adds: “It's no surprise that the public support the idea of a reservation agreement - something we have been campaigning for tirelessly. An agreement between both parties should help to eliminate time wasters and prevent the heartache - and cost - caused by gazumping and gazundering. The government's willingness to trial this idea shows that they are listening to the consumer and not the vested interests of the property industry who seem to think the current system is working just fine.”

Kim Vernau, Chief Executive of BLP Insurance says: “Yesterday’s announcement from the government is a welcome first step towards improving the house purchasing process for consumers. As is evidenced by the results of the 2018 Homeowners Survey, consumers wish to see improvements across the selling and purchasing process. The use of voluntary reservation agreements to prevent sales falling through and a crackdown on gazumping will serve to ease the stress that purchasers have to endure. Clarifying the forms of redress available to purchasers post sale would also support purchasers in resolving issues swiftly and effectively.”

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