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Time to shake up conveyancing?

Buying and selling a house has always been stressful but there are now moves afoot to reduce this by modernising the homebuying experience amid concerns about the conveyancing process.

The Government is to publish a ‘call for evidence’ later this year following a debate in Westminster which looked at the possibility of introducing forfeits for sellers who allow gazumping and simplifying and standardising the mortgage application process.

There was agreement that any change to legislation should involve talking first to estate agents and solicitors to ensure any amendments made were relevant and beneficial, particularly in view of the problems which followed the introduction of the ‘ill fated’ home information packs in 2007 and before they were scrapped in 2010.

Suggestions included:

  • Agreeing on protocols and procedures including comprehensive and standardised questionnaires to complete when a property is originally put on the market;
  • Requiring estate agents to obtain basic information at the point at which a property is marketed and provide ‘more detailed, standardised’ property questionnaires from the conveyancer to complete while a buyer is being sought;
  • Setting up a centrally held database of management packs as part of the regulation of the sector that deals with leasehold properties.

Justice minister Dominic Raab said a call for evidence on options to modernise the homebuying process, announced at the time of last year’s Autumn Statement, will be published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills ‘later this year’, which will invite evidence and proposals from the property industry and consumers.

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