Eight in 10 estate agents would welcome a reform of the “outdated” house-buying process

PUBLISHED: 15:52 31 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:57 01 November 2017

70 per cent of people believe selling a house is the most stressful life event

70 per cent of people believe selling a house is the most stressful life event

Around 70 per cent of homeowners think moving house is stressful, according to research

79 per cent of estate agents would welcome a reform of the current home-buying process, according to research from NAEA Propertymark.

Supply and demand for properties in September reached the highest number recorded since March this year, yet the number of sales agreed remained flat, with an average of eight per branch – the same as July and August. The proportion of sales made to first time buyers was 23 per cent in September, which is also the same as the previous two months.

These stagnating results have been blamed on the “out-dated” and “slow” home-buying process, which the Government is now attempting to modernise.

For this, Sajid Javid, Communities Secretary, announced that the Government intends to consult with estate agents, solicitors, mortgage lenders and anyone with an interest in home buying on how to make the process “cheaper, faster and less stressful for those involved”. This call for evidence will run for eight weeks and close shortly before Christmas.

Among other improvements, Sajid mentioned his intention to increase confidence in the housing chain, provide better guidance to buyers and sellers to ensure homes are sale ready, as well as look for innovative digital solutions to modernise the process.

Javid said: “We want to help everyone have a good quality home they can afford, and improving the process of buying and selling is part of delivering that. Buying a home is one of life’s largest investments, so if it goes wrong it can be costly. That’s why we’re determined to take action to make the process cheaper, faster and less stressful.”

A modernisation of the process is welcomed by James Morton, director at north London estate agents Benham & Reeves, who said: “In theory, giving both buyer and seller security in the transaction is an excellent idea but difficult to achieve. Indeed, we’ve been there before with the ‘Sellers Pack’, which was prohibitively expensive and didn’t work.”

“Many of the over sensationalised headlines in the past have centred on gazumping, but this isn’t as regular an occurrence as the press and government would have us believe, especially in this current market where multiple buyers for a single property is rare. Just as common is gazundering, when the buyer reduces their offer to buy the property just before exchange of contracts, putting a seller over a barrel. Anything to speed up the transaction process and save aborted costs for buyers and sellers would be welcomed,” he added.

Daisy Knight, who currently lives in north London and has recently had an offer accepted on a house, would also support a reform of the home-buying process. The 28-year-old said: “I didn’t realise quite how long of a process it would be after the offer was accepted. It feels like a rollercoaster ride as there are so many stages and a lot of time and effort required into contacting solicitors, mortgage brokers and surveyors. I can only imagine the process is doubly as stressful if you are stuck in a long chain!”

“There is also the worry of issues coming up that might mean in the end, with all the effort (and some sunk costs), the purchase may fall through anyway. It’s scary to think nothing is legally binding until the exchange,” she added.

Research from Which? revealed that Daisy is far from alone in finding the current home-buying process arduous.

Overall, it was found that 70 per cent of people believe selling a house is the most stressful life event, just 8 per cent lower than people who chose going through a divorce.

For more information about the Government’s plans to modernise the home-buying process, and to respond to the call for evidence online visit gov.uk

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

Seven tips for creating a wellbeing boosting garden

Matt Keightley, the designer behind the Feel Good Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, reveals how to make your own outdoor space more soothing. By Hannah Stephenson

Nine ways gardeners can be more waterwise this summer

Want to save your plants and save water? Go easy with the sprinkler and embrace these expert suggestions instead, says Hannah Stephenson

For sale: New show homes open at Highgate development

Two new show apartments have opened at a luxury development in Highgate.

Elegant cottage formerly home to renowned poet, A.E Housman, now for sale in Highgate Village

A cottage in Highgate Village where the renowned poet A.E Housman once lived is now available to buy.

Comment: A War of the Roses? The challenges of dealing with property and divorce

Trevor Abrahmsohn, MD at north London agents Glentree, writes about his encounters with divorcing couples selling the marital home

Home of the week: Handsome 5 bedroom property in Hampstead perfect for a family

On the market for the first time in many years is this attractive, substantial detached double fronted family house located in a prime location.

Fancy owning a Picasso? It’s not impossible says Belsize Village gallery owner

Emma Rice talks to Andrea Sylvester about art and how we could all potentially own a Picasso or a Chagall, if that’s what we love

Callender Howorth interior designers transform Grade II-listed home in Hampstead

Mark Howorth, the founder of luxury interior design firm Callender Howorth, tells us how he brought elegant Indian influences to a period property on NW3’s Heath Drive

Primrose Hill artist Michal Cole on transforming her paintings into woven masterpieces

“It’s actually bringing these paintings back into what they used to be in the Renaissance times – as tapestries.”

Home improvements: How to make a rustic hanging rail

Fancy getting stuck into a creative project? Try your hand at woodworking and hang your coats on this minimalist marvel.

Home of the Week: Handsome four-bedroom Victorian terrace in Dartmouth Park

An attractive four-storey Victorian family home on the upper slopes of peaceful Dartmouth Park

King’s Cross area guide: shopping, culture, eating out and the station

Your guide to all the things to do in King’s Cross, including the best shops, cafes, pubs and schools. Plus our guide to property in N1C

Three properties for sale in King’s Cross

Here are three properties you can buy in King’s Croos, from new builds to conversions

1930s garage transformed into 10 luxury apartments in Belsize Village

A Belsize Village car repair and parking depot dating back to the 1930s has been transformed into a luxury apartment development.

Escape to the garden: Primrose Hill home gets a new luxury retreat

Chalk farm engineer and treehouse specialist talks about co-designing a new Escape Pod that can sit at the bottom of your garden

Home of the week: Room for all your earthly possesions in sought-after Hampstead enclave

An accommodating and beautifully presented, five-bedroom family house, set in the desirable South Hill Park Conservation Area.

Gardens: How best to stock your pond with fish

From picking suitable species to ensuring your pond is safe, Hannah Stephenson runs through some key points to consider before you start.

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2018 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant