At the end of October the government launched a consultation looking into ways of making the house buying and selling process faster, cheaper and less stressful.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced he wants to hear from people all across the sector including estate agents, solicitors and mortgage lenders.  He said “we want to ensure that we address issues across the whole sector, from ways to tackle gazumping and reduce time wasting to increase commitment to a sale.”

The consultation runs for eight weeks from 22nd October, closing just before Christmas.

Specific areas to be looked at include:

•    Gazumping.  This occurs when a seller accepts an offer from one purchaser and then accepts a higher bid from a different buyer.  The government intends looking at ways of curbing this practice.
•    Building trust and confidence.  Around one million homes are bought and sold each year in Britain but around a quarter of sales fall through, with hundreds of millions of pounds being wasted.  New schemes of buying and selling with ‘lock-in’ provisions will be considered.
•    Informing customers.  The consultation will look at ways to provide better guidance for buyers and sellers.
•    Innovation.  More innovative ways of buying online will be considered to try and speed up the process, possibly by making more data available online.

The government is keen to emphasise that they are looking at ways to simplify the whole house buying process.  In a statement it said “this exercise is not about adding extra work for buyers and sellers or seeing a return to Home Improvement Packs; this call for evidence will look at how we can further improve the home buying experience.”

I have to say that this government has not always been kind to private landlords with regard to its legislation but any positive move towards making the buying and selling process easier is surely one that should be welcomed.